Public schools

This Kid Was Suspended for 10 Days Because He 'Liked' a Picture of a Gun on Instagram

"Any social media threat will be taken seriously," even when it's not serious.

|

Gun
Fox 19

Middle-school student Zachary Bowlin didn't bring a gun to school. He didn't say the word gun. He didn't do anything wrong, or dangerous, to merit a 10-day suspension from Edgewood Middle School in Trenton, Ohio.

Bowlin "liked" a picture of a gun on Istagram. That's it. He didn't do this during school hours, with school resources, or on school property.

But, according to the aptly-named Superintendent Russ Fussnecker:

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."

The school apparently interpreted the photo's caption—the single word "Ready"—as a threat to attack, even though the photo didn't make reference to school at all. (Furthermore, the pictured weapon is an airsoft gun.)

"I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o'clock I liked it," Bowlin told FOX 19. "The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons."

The school eventually cancelled the suspension, though district officials have given no indication that they believe they acted rashly. Administrators should not have the power to punish students who engage in constitutionally-protected speech, especially in their own homes.

NEXT: Judge Orders San Diego D.A. to Return $100K it Seized from Family of Marijuana Business Owner

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If it weren’t for Detroit, Ohio would be the northernmost 3rd world country within the boundaries of the US.

    1. As an Ohio resident I tried to be even a little offended by this and completely failed.

  2. What a coincidence, “Russ Fussnecker” was my stripper name.

    1. That colorful name reminded me of that famous school coach Beulah Balbricker.

  3. RE: This Kid Was Suspended for 10 Days Because He ‘Liked’ a Picture of a Gun on Instagram
    “Any social media threat will be taken seriously,” even when it’s not serious.

    Guns are for our ruling elitist filth and their cronies only.
    This kid should’ve been marched off to the gulag along with his family for even looking at a picture of a gun.
    Such “looking” at anti-State devices will only increase the curiosity of the untermenschen in this country and could lead them to obtaining such dangerous devices to use against The State and our beloved ruling elites.
    One can never be too cautious in protecting The State.

    1. Fer sher. Just look at Venezuela.

  4. Uh, how did they come to know he did this? Do they have some quisling reviewing the social media activities of every one of their students? Do they have a snitch line?

    1. Do they have some quisling reviewing the social media activities of every one of their students? Do they have a snitch line?

      Neither would surprise me.

    2. They almost certainly have a snitch “system”. When my son (Asian) was in 8th grade one of his Facebook Friends (Mexican) wrote something like “get me some rice”. My son responded “come mow my lawn”. One of the girls in their class saw the exchange and told the school principal. After all, they’d been taught to “be an upstander, not a bystander!”

      Of course she only told the principal about my son making a ethnic slur against a Mexican student and didn’t mention the comment about rice so my son got called into the principal’s office. When the full Facebook conversation came out, instead of completely dropping it like any rational person would, the principal brought in BOTH boys and contacted the parents.

      They both ended up getting a one day detention. My wife handled it because she was afraid of what I might say if I went in. The detention was bad enough but the event labeled my son in the minds of some classmates and faculty/administrators. Later in the year when someone painted a swastika on the school my son was the first suspect (he wasn’t anywhere near the school when it happened).

      Poor Zachary may have had his suspension cut short, but the school personnel will be watching him like a hawk from now on, hoping they can catch him doing something.

      1. He got away with it, THIS TIME!

      2. After all, they’d been taught to “be an upstander, not a bystander!”

        Not totalitarian at all.

        I’m just wondering, I don’t have kids – is it now accepted that the State can sanction students for thought crime committed on social media?

  5. The school eventually cancelled the suspension, though district officials have given no indication that they believe they acted rashly.

    THEY CANCELED THE SUSPENSION, SOAVE. HOW MUCH MORE CROW MUST THEY EAT? WHAT WILL SATE YOUR HUNGER FOR VENGEANCE UPON THESE PEOPLE?

    You don’t possess a picture of a gun, do you?

    1. The superintendent’s head on a spike would start the conversation for me.

    2. Vote Woodchipper!

  6. Hey, kids. Don’t use your real names online. Your parents and teachers and everyone is watching.

    1. Your parents and teachers and everyone is watching.

      You can’t legally use Facebook, etc. below the age of 13-14. However, your 2nd grader gets an iPad assigned to them and the iPad is effectively ‘locked down’. So, when they need something printed from the iPad or need the presentation software to present in portrait instead of landscape, your choices become illegal workaround, fraudulent workaround, ?ber-Russian cyber-hacking, and fail. Once they turn 13-14 (or 18 or w/e), you/they *might* not be guilty of fraud exactly anymore, but the likelihood that they’ve got an account that bears their name or a name identifiable by their school is exceedingly high.

      1. True.

        It’s also creepy as hell that school administrators are following students’ social media postings. I hate how public schools try to insinuate themselves into every aspect of students’ lives.

        1. His family needs to sue. The only sad thing is that the taxpayers cover the tab, instead of all those ‘educators’.

  7. “I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking ‘you just suspended him for ten days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site,” father Marty Bowlin said. “He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post? anything on the site, just liked it.”

    You should be grateful they didn’t asset-forfeiture your house and your car and your bank account and your kid’s computer.

    1. Not to mention sending CPS after him and putting his kid in foster care. The fact that he thinks it’s no big deal that his kid apparently likes guns is all the proof any goodthinkful person should need that he’s an unfit father. /sarc

    2. Livid? I would laugh maniacally and call my lawyer.

    3. Denormalizing and vilifying gun ownership.

      Indoctrinate first, control second.

  8. 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. We own you.

    FTFY

    1. ^this. You are legally obligated to send your children to our facility. Our Student Code of Conduct, which your children are also mandated to adheare to, states that your behavior will be subject to our approval even when not otherwise affiliated with our institution, so long as our vague interpertation of “affecting the educational process” is consulted even if it contradicts constitutional protections because you agreed to our Code of Conduct = You belong to us, even when you are temporarly in the care of your surrogates.

  9. From Wikipedia – Trenton was originally called Bloomfield, and under the latter name was platted in 1815. Bloomfield was named for Joseph Bloomfield, governor of New Jersey. In 1831, it was discovered that there was already a Bloomfield post office in Ohio, and so the town was renamed after the state capital of New Jersey at Trenton.

    The connection to New Jersey explains a lot, don’t it?

  10. Superintendent Russ Fussnecker:

    I bet the students have some really interesting nick-names for this Fucknesser…

    1. And they should all create Facebook accounts under those names, then mock the school and town mercilessly.
      And post pictures of guns, crime statistics from disarmed countries, and pictures from Venezuela.

  11. Imagine the reaction by Superintendent Fussnecker if he knew how many of his students were shooting airsoft guns at each other in their own time.

  12. Would a student at Edgewood Middle School be threatened with suspension if he “liked” a picture of a woodchipper? Asking for a friend.

    1. Vote Woodchipper!

  13. Parent deserves this for sending their kid to govt school

    1. And her skirt was too short. Right?

  14. This story isn’t over…

    “It’s a different story for the student who posted the picture of the gun on Instagram. He remains suspended. He and his family are expected to meet with school officials next week. The Bowlins hope that meeting goes well, too.”

    http://www.wlwt.com/article/in…..ol/9612240

  15. As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious…

    Improper grammar, on the other hand, is someone else’s department.

  16. The correct response is always the same — un-enroll your kid and home school. Cost the nannies their state and federal dollars.

  17. I America the State Polices you!

  18. We are on the fast track to becoming the most retarded “civilization” ever. Public schools only mirror what is happening in society at large.

  19. Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, become administrators.

  20. At least he learned the lesson about not using your real name on the fucking internet.

  21. Now that’s a lawsuit. Kudos on their upcoming settlement. I would also make the school superintendent kneel before me if I were this kid. Just like Zod and the son of Jor-El.

    1. District lawyers, “We’d like to settle and keep this out of court. We’re offering $X.”
      Marty Bowlin, “I’ll take half that if Fussnecker licks the sole of Zachary’s shoes, while the administrators who authorized & conducted the pat-down kneel nearby and sing, ‘Zachary Bowlin is the light of our life!’ And they’d better be on-key, dammit.”

  22. “Administrators should not have the power to punish students who engage in constitutionally-protected speech, especially in their own homes.”

    That has been progressively deteriorating for years, starting with suspending athletes for getting caught drinking on week ends. Now the school IT has set up 24 hour troll for any hits of student names on social media. It will continue to “progress” toward increasingly intrusive oversight of every aspect of their/our lives until something is done to halt the creep of administrative overreach we now have.

    They don’t give a shit about what is or is not “constitutionally protected.” In the little minds of these minions the Constitution is an archaic obstacle to a better world. They have gotten their “dear colleague” letters and are in a fucking frenzy to do anything and everything to meet the expectations of that agenda and to keep the confiscated [taxed] money coming back to their coffers. I’m not a Trump fan [though I have enjoyed the shit show], but the best thing that could possibly come out of that administration [beyond keeping a progressive witch who would like more of this out of the White House] would be a overturn this trend, supported by more supreme court appointments who would be hostile to such tyranny.

  23. Public education is obsolete.

    It should be abolished.

    1. Government education is obsolete. Never wasn’t.

      Calling it public education is part of the democracy fantasy. Mencken’s observation applies: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  24. And of course let’s criminally charge them too……

    http://www.wcpo.com/news/local…..ler-county

  25. Hopefully, this kids family will sue the school administrators in their personal capacity. This is so egregious, they should not be allowd to hide behind official actions.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.