Student suspended for liking a picture

An Ohio middle-schooler got an eye-opening insight into how schools are monitoring the social media activity of their students.

Zachary Bowlin and his friends like to shoot Airsoft (BB) guns.  The seventh-grader saw a picture of one on social media and clicked the like button.  The act of just clicking a button set off a chain of events that the boy will not likely forget.

When he returned to school, he was searched for weapons.  He was then told that he would be suspended for 10 days.

In a message from the school, his parents were informed that his like “indicated potential school violence.”  The photo had a caption of that read “Ready”.  Apparently, the school took his like as a sign that he was “ready” to shoot someone.

After a conversation between his parents and school officials, Zachary was allowed to return to school.

In a statement, the school’s superintendent wrote: “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.”

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An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.