Right Or Wrong? Middle School Student Suspended & Searched After Liking Instagram Gun Pic

A middle school student was shocked when he was called into the office and searched for weapons after turning up for school one morning. Despite nothing being found on him, Zachary Bowlin, a student at Edgewood Middle School was then handed a 10-day suspension – and all because he ‘liked’ a picture of a gun on Instagram!

Now, we understand that security is a real issue in schools – especially given the seemingly endless spate of school shootings that have shocked the nation over the years – but could this be taking things too far?

The school said that Zachary had broken school policy by “liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.” However, the boy’s father, Marty Bowlin replied:

“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.’ He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post… [He] just liked it.”

In fact, Zachary says that he didn’t even ‘like’ the post during school hours:

“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 me for weapons.”

While the school eventually stopped the suspension, it all raises some interesting questions, including where we draw the line between what is school business and what is personal. Also, does this mean that the school is monitoring the social media accounts of all of its students?

Did the school over-step the mark, or is this fair play in the high stakes game of school security?



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