Ohio Student Suspended for Liking Photo of Toy Gun on Instagram

Whenever I see reports like this, I can’t help but believe that zero tolerance school policies really mean zero common sense and intolerance on the part of educators. Over the past few years, numerous students have been suspended from school for the horrific crimes of just being kids.

Do you remember being a kid and playing and using your imagination? These days, kids are longer allowed to be kids or use their imaginations when playing, growing up or at school. They are being taught to be programmed robotic socialists.

Consider the 9-year-old girl in Colorado who shaved her head because her best friend had lost her hair due to cancer treatment and was being teased about her hair. The school suspended the girl for showing compassion to a friend. Shaving her head was a violation of the school’s zero tolerance policy.

Then there was the second grader who was suspended by a school named for a military hero, for getting a military-style haircut. The military-style haircut was a violation of the school’s zero tolerance policy.

One of my favorite examples of zero tolerance stupidity was the suspension of a second-grade boy who chewed the edges of his toaster pastry to look like a mountain. However, a liberal teacher didn’t see a mountain, but saw a gun instead and then went ballistic, resulting in the young boy being suspended. Can you imagine what that teacher sees when looking at clouds?

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There was a middle-school boy who was suspended for wishing he had a gun to protect his friends. They were on a school bus going home from school when he and his friends were talking about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The boy told his friends that he wished he had a gun so he could protect his friends. All the bus driver heard was ‘gun’ and the boy was suspended. Just saying ‘gun’ was a violation of the school’s zero tolerance policy.

A fifth-grader was suspended for what violated the schools zero tolerance policy for using a ‘level 2 lookalike firearm’. His crime was playing pointing his finger at another student and pretending to shoot him.

Back in 2013, a 5-year-old school girl was playing with her friend and told her that when they got home, she would shoot her with her Hello Kitty Bubble Gun. The toy shoots out soap bubbles, but just the mention of using the toy was enough for the girl to be suspended for violating the school’s zero tolerance policy.

Earlier this year a kindergarten boy was suspended when he picked up a stick and pretended it was a gun. He violated the school’s zero tolerance policy.

The list of similar ridiculous and absurd reasons to suspend kids for being kids goes on and on and on and on, but you get the idea.

To the growing list of examples of lack of common sense among educators comes from Trenton, Ohio. Seventh-grader Zachary Bowlin was recently suspended for violating the school’s zero tolerance policy. However, Bowlin did absolutely nothing wrong while at school. His horrific crime was committed at home when he saw a photo on Instagram of an airsoft gun. The actual crime was when he clicked the ‘like’ button on the photo and it turns out the school Nazi’s were tracking his private online activity.

According to Bowlin:

“I didn’t think I did anything wrong.”

“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock, I liked it. The next morning they called me down (to the office) patted me down and checked for weapons and told me I was getting expelled or suspended or whatever.”

He was suspended for 10-days for ‘liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence’.

Marty Bowlin, Zachary’s father told the media:

“I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking ‘you just suspended him for 10 days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site’. He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post … anything on the site. Just liked it.”

Russ Fussenecker, the school superintendent justified the suspension, writing:

“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.”

“Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption ‘Ready,’ and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows: The (school) 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 outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process.”

How did just liking a photo of a toy gun constitute misbehavior that adversely affects the educational process? He didn’t comment or do anything other than just click like. Think about all the vulgar, obscene and threatening music and movies that kids like and don’t get suspended for linking them.

If you are not familiar with what an airsoft gun is, it is a toy gun that uses compressed air to shoot non-metallic projectiles at such a slow speed that they do not penetrate the skin. Airsoft guns are often used in games of competitive and recreational shooting and when using them, protective gear is recommended. Old-fashioned BB guns are more dangerous than airsoft guns.

That was Zachary Bowlin’s crime worthy of a 10-day suspension – clicking that he liked a photo of a toy gun. I wonder what the brilliant educators at his school would do if he visited the website of the NRA or the Outdoor Channel and liked one of their stories or photos.

Educators like Fussenecker have zero common sense. I wonder what would happen if their jobs were viewed by the same kind of zero tolerance policies. What if officials monitored everything he did at home on his own time, including his computer use, social media use and even what television programs he watched. I bet he would end up suspended from his job a lot longer than 10-days. It’s time that educators get educated and learn some common sense.

UPDATE: After all of the negative publicity, the school backed off the suspension, but the damage was already done.


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