Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News Second Amendment

“F” Stands for “Fail:” 7th Grader “Likes” Toy Gun Photo on Instagram, Gets Suspended from School

Friday, May 12, 2017

“F” Stands for “Fail:” 7th Grader “Likes” Toy Gun Photo on Instagram, Gets Suspended from School

If you follow gun control politics even casually, you know three things.

One, gun control advocates are positively and unshakable fixated – not just on taking your guns – but on making the very idea of a gun a thoughtcrime.

Two, there is nothing “reasonable” about their methods or their goals.

Three, their activities have nothing to do with public safety (or reality, in most cases) and instead spring from a pathological impulse to assert their will and ideology over others.

Occasionally, though, their zealousness and absurdity are so extreme that you have to wonder how much steeper the slippery slope can get.

Ground Zero for all that epitomizes the antigun worldview is any place that purports to “educate” young minds. And young people just love to communicate with each other on social media about their shared pastimes.

When you put the two together, you get what happens to Zachary Bowlin, a hapless kid just trying to get through Edgewood Middle School in Trenton, Ohio on his way to growing into adulthood. Zachary is hapless because he is surrounded by unreasonable people acting as educators.

Last week, according to a report by the local Fox affiliate WBRC (Fox19 News), Zachary was innocently minding his own business, doing what millions of other American kids do at night after school. He was checking his social media account, in this case, the video and image-sharing app, Instagram.

Coming across a friend’s picture of a realistic-looking Airsoft gun, Airsoft enthusiast Zachary pushed “Like,” an absent-minded gesture many people engage in dozens of times a day on images depicting such things as pets, deserts, and objects involved in hobbies they share with their friends.

The next morning, Zachary told a WBRC reporter, school officials “called me down … patted me down and checked me for weapons, then they told me I was getting expelled or suspended or whatever.”

According to a note from the school the Bowlins provided to the reporter, Zachary was to be suspended effective May 4, with his return date to be determined later. The reason: “Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”

AOL.com posted a picture of the offending post, which merely depicted the plastic gun on the table, with the caption, “Ready.”

To say that the post, to a casual observer, would indicate potential school violence would be akin to claiming that a picture of the sun would indicate the potential of a cataclysmic gravitational collapse that would extinguish all life on earth.

Except that the sun really is dangerous and Airsoft guns really are not.

To be fair, you could imagine a scenario where a facially innocent picture of a toy gun on social media was merely one in a series of circumstances known to school officials that would justify them taking strong action.

But that wasn’t this case. Indeed, Superintendent Russ Fussnecker essentially admitted that the school’s reaction was based only on the picture, coupled with his own vivid imagination about its worst possible significance.

"When you're dealing with school districts nowadays and there are pictures of guns, regardless of the kind of gun it is, it's a gun," Fussnecker told WLWT News in Cincinnati. "And there are certain images or words, I can't determine if that's playful or real. And until I can get to an investigation, I have to look into it, those students have to be removed."

Fortunately, Zachary’s parents knew enough to go to the media, whose intervention apparently allowed cooler heads to prevail. The school eventually rescinded the suspension (at least of Zachary, the student who posted the photo remains barred from school), but Superintendent Fussnecker appeared ready to stick to his … well … delusions in a statement to Fox19 News.

“The Board has a ‘zero tolerance’ of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students,” it read. Fussnecker continued: “As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious [sic] including those who ‘like’ the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.”

Superintendent Fussnecker – obviously no English major – apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of the words “threat” or “endangers” or the irony of his own proposition. Taken at face value, the image was neither inherently threatening nor aimed in any overt way at the school or “educational process.” Zachery himself understood exactly what it meant. “I figured he'd cleaned his gun and was ready, wanting to play and stuff," he explained to WLWT News. His father added, "The young man that posted it and my son, and probably four or five other kids, play airsoft in our field. … So I really wasn’t concerned.”

And if adverse effects on the “educational process” are the true concern, what is more likely to accomplish that than summarily suspending an innocent student for harmless behavior – not to mention exposing the entire school and its staff to national ridicule – before “investigating” the situation?

The real problem with this and other “zero tolerance” abuse isn’t just that it’s stupid or overbearing but that it means even decent, well-meaning kids have no path through school that isn’t mined with hysteria that could suddenly and unpredictably explode in their face and derail their future.

Fortunately, Zachary’s parents stood up for their son, and the school (to its credit) eventually did the right thing in his case.

But for every Zachary, who knows how many other students are harshly punished and stigmatized without recourse, simply because the educational establishment has officially adopted an antigun, anti-Second Amendment posture?

However many it is, it’s too many. And there’s certainly nothing to “Like” about that.

TRENDING NOW
Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

On May 21st, the Illinois state House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to pass House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966.  While it has not yet been scheduled for further action, the House may take it ...

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

On May 20th, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington rejected a motion by the government defendants to dismiss the lawsuit filed by NRA and the SAF against Washington’s gun control ...

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

Can we finally put the claim that “gun violence” research is underfunded to rest? The Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Webster, and his colleagues at the Hopkins ...

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Monday, May 20, 2019

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Last week, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees took up their respective suspense files ahead of the Friday, May 17, fiscal deadline. Some of the more egregious gun bills failed to meet the deadline including ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday for signing NRA-backed legislation that protects tenants’ rights by prohibiting “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.   

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

On May 21st, the Illinois state House of Representatives Rules Committee will hear House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966 and send it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  HA 1 to SB 1966 would ...

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

News  

Hunting  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

When I started with NRA in 1995, most of the attention our organization received was over legislative efforts in Congress. Firearm-related legislation at the federal level obviously has an impact on far more law-abiding gun ...

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens does not believe a law-abiding citizen has a right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. He made his ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.