Students facing expulsion for homecoming Facebook photo

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MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. - Two high school students say they’re facing expulsion over a photo posted to Facebook.

Tito Velez, 16, and his girlfriend, Jamie Pereira, are shown holding air-soft guns in a homecoming photo they posted on Facebook last Friday, according to WCVB.

Airsoft guns are replicas, which can fire plastic pellets, and are intended to be non-lethal.

Velez said they wanted their photo to be unique and use something other than flowers.

“This isn’t dangerous; you can’t kill someone with it," Velez said. "We didn’t shoot anyone. We were pointing them at the floor. Everything was on safe, no batteries, they never left the house. We never took them to school. That’d be stupid."

But when the teenagers put a caption on the photo, relating it to homecoming at their school, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School, it connected the air-soft guns to a school function.

- WGHP

- WGHP

School officials say students were talking about the photo in school on Monday and it caused a “disruption,” which is why they were suspended, the superintendent said.

“These students know what is... provocative," Superintendent Richard Gross said. "And to tie that to one of our school events kind of puts it over the top which brings us into it.”

Jamie Pereira says she understood but thinks the school took it too far.

“Suspending us for 10 days and possible expulsion is way too much," Pereira said.

The students are suspended for up to 10 days.

The superintendent said there will be a hearing about when or if they will be allowed to return.

65 comments

  • cyndie

    NO! In the south we b use to take pics with rifles or shot guns. I think it is over reaction. are these kids good in school do they go to school all the time they have a lot of friends get mad I think it’s ridiculous how schools are being. There is a time and a place to be concerned. then they should check everybody at the door and let nobody out until after the prom is over.

  • Johnny Cotton

    Oh wow. That school is stupid! They took it way too far! So what if they want to put a gun in their picture, the kid was right, they were being safe and obviously the kids know Gun Safety Rules as it is (1) pointed in a safe direction, (2) finger is off the trigger and (3) the guns are unloaded. There should be no expulsion, no suspension, no consequence, they didn’t take them to the school or the dance, so why should the school care?

    Good for the kids for being original.

  • Melissa porter

    I think these students did nothing wrong, except posting it in fb. They should’ve left the school name out. With technology being so viral today we have to be careful what we post and say in the internet. Off course people are going to be scared if you post something like that on fb. I do not agree that the should be expelled. I think the administration went over the top on this one. We have become so afraid of shootings and we should be. The problem is we let that fear of a school shooting take over living our lives. i would never use guns in a picture but they were just doing it for fun. They said, “we wanted something different for our picture” what harm is there in that. . I’d the administration really going take away there chances of continuing their education for something that they meant no harm. The administration is doing more damage by hindering their education.

  • MrsJ

    I think suspending them for ten days is not horrible. It is only ten days! I think the photo could have encouraged similar ones, and is like unto a bomb threat in nature. In this day and age, with school shootings happenning all over the nation, schools need to monitor things like this. They are doing the suspension to protect kids.

    • Mike king

      Protect kids from what exactly? If these two want to pull another Columbine, they could do it. Expelled, they could do it. You don’t have to be a student at a school to walk right in and shoot the place up. And that’s because people like you think preventing RESPONSIBLE people from taking photos of guns will somehow prevent actual killers from murdering people, instead of confronting the real issue. These two have done nothing wrong or illegal. They should still be in school. This is ridiculous.

  • Rebecca Lyn Dunaway

    What did they expect! This is poor taste in this day and time, With all of the gun violence happening in Schools, I think we should teach are children to have some respect and compassion for those who have lost their children and loved ones to gun violence, A private photo not linked to School …maybe… But come on ‘m this picture is meant to offend, it has no other Earthly purpose. I know i will get a lot of heat over this, But why not take a beautiful photo, This is supposed to be a happy moment, Suspension is a little touch, but well….Have some respect!

    • wow

      this photo is un-related to those school shootings. Stop making a piece of metal evil. Kids die everyday from a lot of different stuff including cars. Should every kid that is posing with a car be suspended too? Get over yourself…

    • GDS3E

      You mean if their children had been shot with an air-soft gun? I doubt that would kill anybody. So I “daresay” you are full of it.

      You are the one who is ridiculous, and it’s not okay.

  • Matt

    Suspended for holding firearms in a photo? This garbage over guns is so out of hand it’s unreal. The citizens of this nation have a God-given right to own firearms. Its called the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Sounds as if it is time for some parents and kids to find a new, gun friendly school to attend. Political correctness is killing this nation. Guns do not kill people – people do.

    • thejow

      God-given? Must’ve missed the part in the bible where Jesus handed out AKs. You do know dudes wrote the Bill of Rights, right?
      Also, adults have the right to own guns. Not 16 y/o children. On the issue, I don’t even think the school was necessarily correct, but at least I’m not so self-absorbed that I can’t see why others with differing opinions might find this situation uncomfortable to be linked to a school.

      • GDS3E

        16 year-olds don’t have the right to own airsoft guns? Wow, better call the ATF, because there are a LOT of kids out there with airsoft guns! You are, in fact, so self-absorbed that you apparently can’t tell the difference between a big old scary mountain, and a little insignificant mole-hill. You must’ve missed the part of the Bill of Rights where the dudes don’t sweat small stuff because of the red tape.

      • thejow

        Response to GDS3E: Please reread my comment. I said guns, not toys.

        Of course children can own airsoft guns, I never said they couldn’t. Let’s not be too hasty, okay? :)

      • Matt

        Yes, God-given rights. Yes, God knew we would need to be able to protect ourselves one day in this land of promise so He insured that the wise men were inspired to create the Constitution and include the 2nd Amendment. the Bible is full of wars and they used swords and other weapons back then. Today we use firearms. I think you are the one that is self absorbed and on the short end of the stick. Liberals and ignorant people are killing this nation.

  • K

    lol this is stupid, ridiculous. The kids meant no harm. their are Waaay bigger fish to fry in this word- The Media exploits Stupid Storys like this to Keep you All blind from the Real Problems that America is Facing. Obamas President, Whats it represent? Just because hes HALF black doesn’t mean hes “Heaven sent” your all clueless to evidence and all the minds he’s messing with. His charming smile hasn’t got us out of debt for S***

  • Brandi Denham

    The kids did nothing wrong. Hobby or not. Kids learn more about violence in school then anywhere else. Build a bridge and get over it.

  • Taylor

    While the photo was in poor taste, particularly connecting it to a school event, the administration is going way overboard. They didn’t threaten the school, they didn’t bring the guns to school, they’re holding non lethal guns properly, so ten days suspension and possible expulsion is extreme. I know people are scared right now with the school shootings right now, and while I’m in favor of more strict gun control, you can’t punish the innocent.

  • Alba

    Good they are it will teach the rest not just students but the world that guns rifles or any arems are no joke and is not something fun to be doing just for fun it takes mature and responsability not just posture… Thank you

  • lafemmafatalle33@yahoo.com

    TOTALLY agree with their suspension. It’s not cute. It’s STUPID!! (And I’m a defender of the 2nd Amendment)

  • Amy

    They are dressed up in fancy outfits and posing w old timey looking guns like they are trying to replicate a Bonnie and Clyde feel. I get it. What I don’t get is over exaggerating made by the students, school and superintendent. Different..yes! Wrong…I don’t think so! As a parent that encourages my children to think out side of the box, I think it’s cleaver.

  • jc

    It’s foolish the parents would know and they guns are just toys. So if u where at home school is saying now even if you are home you will be treated the same as if you where at school if school is preparing us for real life that tells me that we lost all are rights an certain freedoms for one self to express are selves we don’t have a right an sometimes by law a picture could just be consider a prop like a stage where plays take place so what are we teaching teenagers an other students it’s dumb to do that to 2 teenagers who are at the safety of there own house. The schools are reaching students to lie and hide stuff of what’s going on at home more also.

  • April

    I don’t know that they should have been suspended but I think it shows a severe lack of compassion considering all the violence that has been taking place in schools across the country.

  • Eugene

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Nothing else needs to be said! It’s obvious the photo was taken in the home and not at the school by a hired photographer. Their home, their “style” they chose for the image and their personal Facebook account!!! The Superintendent has no right to tie this into a school activity and make it inappropriate. What if this photo was taken because this couple went out and had fun safely shooting targets as their pre-homecoming activity they did together, and this is how they wanted it documented for future memories.

  • Kevin Arthur Orella

    Ok, so The Photo Is In Bad Taste When It Is TiEd Into A School Function Considering The Recent And Not So Recent School Shootings And Deaths. It Certainly Crossed The Minds Of These People When Taking The Photo, However, They Have The Right To Arms, They Have A Right To Do As They Choose In Their Own Homes, On Their Own Time. Maybe The Comment Relaying It To School Should Have Been Left Out, Maybe Not, Again That Kind Of Messes With Free Speech. Bad Taste Yes, Illegal Or Worthy Of Expulsion,Hell No!!!

  • will

    They are AIR SOFT guns..at home. Good firearm discipline. These things can’t kill a squirrel fully charged battery, 5 ft away. So to say anything close to them bringing them to the school and kill. That’s completely assanine. I bet it’s the 400 round magazine clip capacity that scared the school. Hell maybe it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.

  • Angela Mitchell

    With everything going on in school and the world today about GUNs, I believe the parents should have stepped in on this one.

  • bob

    Pretty scary looking pair.

    They’re not at school. They didn’t use a school computer. This has nothing to do with school. The First and Second Amendments are on their side. (Reason enough for liberals to hate them.)

    Liberal logic: If we pretend guns don’t exist then nobody will get shot.

  • alana wilson

    I don’t think this picture was appropriate either even if it was a joke! What with all the school shootings, anyone with any sense would never of posted it! They need to be expelled….

  • trevor

    Um the school does not need to step in… When i was in high school we had a group of people and went up into the mountains for a fire all of us said stuff on facebook about the dance (that we didnt attend) just because it was mentioned does not give the school power over me thats ridiculous!

  • sassy6

    This pic was taken in someone’s home. Not on School grounds. It was on personal time. Not while the kids were at school. If they wanted a unique pic and they grabbed air soft guns, let them take the pic. No harm was done. No one was injured. They didn’t break any laws. Sometimes I think we jump the gun (no pun intended) on things and we need to lighten up a little.

  • Robert wiley

    This is ridiculous get over it. guns are a part of reality. to punish someone for taking a picture posing with toys is crazy. Even if they were real i don’t see anything wrong with it. We live in a free country. What someone does on they’re own time should not be regulated by there school! they didn’t break the law. if anything the school is infringing on there rights to free speech and they should have action taken against them.

  • Nick

    Seriously, what was the point in the photo. Anyone who doesn’t know better would believe those to be weapons. It’s not cute, it’s dumb, the kids (probably the parents idea) promoting the propaganda. However it is an overreaction by the school to take further action than just having the photos taken down.

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