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Liking a Photo of a Gun Got Him Suspended

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Should a student who “liked” a picture of a gun on Instagram be suspended from school?  Well apparently one school in Trenton Ohio thought so.

Fox 19 in Ohio is reporting on a Middle School student who received a 10 day suspension for “liking” a picture of a gun on his Instagram account.

The suspension notice the parents received stated:

The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.

Does this sound like a good reason for a student to miss 10 days of schooling which good set him far behind in his classes?  One point you should know the student never commented on the picture he just “liked” the picture.

An email was sent out to all the parents of the schools stating:

Yesterday evening school officials were made aware to an alleged threat of a student bringing a gun to school. We act on any potential threat to student safety swiftly and with the utmost importance. This morning, the alleged threat was addressed and we can assure you that all students at Edgewood Middle School are safe and school will continue as normal. Thank you

That email was then followed up by a statement from the Superintendent to FOX19 news stating:

The Board has a “zero tolerance” of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students. 

Furthermore, the policy states:  

Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process.

As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious including those who “like” the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.”

Have schools gone too far in their policing of students social media posts and actions outside of school?  I do understand that there is a need to review social media post to determine if there may be a threat to the school or other students as well as signs of a student possibly being alienated and committing some harm to themselves, but where does the school then cross the line.

Should the school have just called the student and parents in for a meeting to discuss what the student did and then determine a course of action?  Why go immediately to a very long suspension of the student before really determining what is going on and see how the parents react to the news.

How many times have I reported on extremely disturbing news of actions by teachers and they are either not suspended while being investigated or they are given a paid vacation via paid suspension while the “investigation” is occurring.

Also the key word in the prior paragraph is “investigation”.  Teachers are afforded an investigation before punishment is doled out but apparently students are not.

By the way the family has stated for some unknown reason the school has since dropped the suspension and there appears that there will be no repercussions for the child’s actions.  The question I have is why was the suspension dropped?

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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