Two students suspended after posting controversial Facebook photo

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MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. (PIX11/WGHP) — 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 airsoft guns in a homecoming photo they posted on Facebook last Friday, according to WCVB.

Jamie Pereira and her boyfriend Tito Velez. (WGHP)

Jamie Pereira and her boyfriend Tito Velez. (WGHP)

 

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 airsoft guns to a school function.

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,” said Superintendent Richard Gross. “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.

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7 comments

  • J

    I kinda understand why they were suspended. If they weren’t dressed for homecoming and just posted the pic, it would be no big deal. But with all the school shootings lately, that pic was in bad taste. Not everyone is educated about guns and to non gun fans/owners those look like big, dangerous, guns.

      • Elle

        I’m glad no other 16 year old in the country isn’t thinking before they act…everyone knows the teen years are all about making wise decisions. Was it stupid? Yeah, maybe…but they didn’t bring the guns to school, they didn’t make a threat, they just posted a stupid picture without thinking because they thought it was cool. In the meantime, some seriously disturbed person is slipping through the cracks while the school focuses on these 2.

  • Bryan Rex

    Misty, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with having photos of guns, linked to homecoming or not… How can your warped liberal mashed brain NOT understand that? There have been school shootings and mass murders from the beginning of time… Its not hard at all to spot a disturbed child or adult. What is hard is for them to get help because YOU would rather blame their problems on guns or violent tv or some other nonsense.

    to 3, since when does everyone have to make every other person comfortable with their beliefs? I am so sick of you liberals RUINING this country. Liberals are the reason for ALL SCHOOL SHOOTINGS… yes i said it, I believe it… you don’t give any accountability to the individual, give first place ribbons to last place.. cause they tried, pathetic and pitiful.

    • Wow

      Where did these people ever claim to be liberals? You’re making a lot of assumptions here. Liberals have nothing to do with it. Conservatives have nothing to do with it either. This issue is not a party issue– it may be involved in politics but you can’t blame everything on one side or the other. I’ve heard many conservatives claim gun violence is the fault of everything you’re claiming liberals blame it on, and personally been hard pressed to find liberals that say the same thing, so please don’t say all conservatives or liberals believe the same thing. Playing the blame game and taking on the us v them attitude is exactly what the problem is with anything getting done or fixed, and you’re perpetuating it.

  • Elle

    Oh, no, quick, hide your kids, lock up your wives, a couple of teenagers posed with a pellet gun…that means they are for sure going to shoot up the school!!! Give me a break…the school overreacted. If they were so concerned about a school shooting over this photo, why not mandate a psychologic evaluation to see exactly where their heads were? Isn’t this why they have school psychologists and social workers for? A suspension for something that happened off campus, with a photo taken at home, posted to a private account that had a caption saying “homecoming ” isn’t grounds for suspension.

    • william bloomberg

      What happened to Frisbee’s and boardgames……..replaced with warfare video consoles.

      Ignorance isn’t bliss, kids learn from example and others. We are in such sensitive times that anything can trigger erratic and unstable mental behavior. This was done in poor taste, they could have taken the photo and not associated it with a school function, if it meant that much to them. Where are the parents in all this, loading up the other 2 kids for their shot?! you can go back to watching to watching Tom & Jerry now.

      cheers
      WB

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