Teens suspended over photos with Airsoft guns on Facebook
In Taunton, Massachusetts, two high school students were suspended by school administrators for 10 days after a picture of them, posing with airsoft guns in the living room of one of the teens before a school dance, was posted to Facebook.
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School juniors, Jaime Pereira and her boyfriend Tito Velez, were dressed in their homecoming outfits in Velez's home when they decided to pose with a set of airsoft guns. Using proper trigger discipline with the muzzled pointed in a safe direction, the two posed while Velez's father took the picture, which was posted to Facebook, captioned Homecoming 2014."
Since the teens, both avid airsofters, often posted pictures to their social media account of them in their sport, they didn't think it would be a big deal.
They were wrong.
The post set off a chain of events that Pereira and Velez were not ready for. While the dance went off fine that Friday night, the following Monday the two were brought into the school office and disciplined with a 10 day suspension while expulsion is discussed, for making what the school took as threats.
"What it's about is a coupled students engaging in an activity that created a total destruction of the school day," school Superintendent Richard W. Gross told WHDH 7. "They're juniors in High School, and it's proactive and they should know better and it scared students."
Goss told another media outlet that he would have canceled the dance had he had seen the photo beforehand.
After being called on the carpet by school officials, Velez, 16, returned to Facebook to plead his case.
The original post, saved on Gunssaveslives.net as Facebook deleted it, reads in part:
"See this photo? yea, well this photo got me and my gf suspended from our high school for 10 days. possible expulsion too. Today we were taken right before the Cross Country states meet. We were asked, 'why would you post something like that?' when we tried saying something, they told us to be quiet and they separated us.
I was sent to a room and my bag was searched, along with my clothes and locker. The school called the police and they had a cop speak to us without reading our rights and without our parents permission. We had no say in what happened and we never got a chance to defend ourselves. We are both out of school now, in a school that only allows 4 days absent. Which means if they don't expel us, we pay for overpriced Saturday school and winter school.
I understand it was wrong to take a picture with guns but come on. My dad took the photos, in my house. The guns were pointed at the floor, on safety, mock mags in, and our fingers weren't on the trigger. We had a responsible adult and he isn't against Airsoft. He knows gun safety and he keeps my guns, I don't have them unless I'm out at the fields."
What do you think? Should they have been suspended over airsoft photos taken at a private home outside of school or did the school over-react? Let us know in the comments below.