TAUNTON, MA — Two teens who took a picture with their Airsoft rifles while at their own home are facing expulsion from school…Tito Velez and Jaime Pereira are members of an Airsoft club. The guns they use look real, but they only fire plastic projectiles. Last week, Tito and Jaime posed with their guns at home for their homecoming picture and posted it on Facebook. A school official then saw the photo and suspended the teens for ten days claiming the photo may have scared other students.
1. The photo was beyond irresponsible and stupid, and looks more so in the wake of the recent school shooting. It’s creepy, Bonny and Clyde-ish, and the caption, “Homecoming 2014,” could be reasonably seen as a threat.
2. The fact that the guns were Airsoft replicas is irrelevant. My son left one of his Airsoft rifles in a car outside our house, and a virtual police S.W.A.T. team showed up. These toys are close enough to the real thing to be threatening.
3. Generally, punishing students for what they say on Facebook exceeds a school’s authority, but not in a case like this.
4. The punishment is wildly excessive. No threat was intended, no weapons were brought on school grounds. The kids broke no laws. They just used terrible judgment.
5. They needed to get a lecture, an assignment, and maybe a suspension of a single day. Hitting them with ten days and possible expulsion is just typical anti-gun bias and hysteria.
Pointer: Jeremy Wiggins