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Subdeacon Joe

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http://universalfreepress.com/school-suspends-modern-bonnie-and-clyde-over-gun-photo/

 

On Friday a young couple, Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira, were preparing to go to a school dance, and as usual, mom and dad broke out the camera and took a few pictures of the cute couple. During the impromptu photo shoot, someone decided to take a couple of pictures with the kids holding some Airsoft toy guns. A little later, the kids went to the dance and had an uneventful evening just making happy memories.

On Monday school officials of, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, MA, got wind of the picture and, about 2 PM, just prior to a cross-country track meet, the couple was called into the school office. Both minors were questioned by school officials, split up and the police were called. The parents were not notified, nor was there any kind of child advocate at the scene. When the kids asked to call their parents, school officials told them to “be quite”. Police finally showed up and the young man and woman were searched along with their lockers and book bags. Nothing was found. The officers “talked” to the students, again without benefit of counsel or parents.

What crime had this modern day Bonnie and Clyde committed? Had they knocked over a vending machine or maybe robbed the school lunch program? No, their only “crime”, was that they posted the picture of them cheesing it up with the plastic toy guns on their Facebook page. Did they look menacing, or mad, or make any threating remarks? Nope, just posted a picture with her smiling and him standing next to her, along with other pictures the boy’s father had taken. Maybe the pictures were taken in front of the school or even in front of the principal’s house? Nope they were taken in their own home with their proud parents looking on.

Tito enjoys the hobby of Air Soft, a sport where teams play “capture the flag” with the added incentive of not getting shot by a soft rubber BB. The game is similar to paintball, but the projectiles don’t explode or hurt as much when you get hit. Players wear protective clothing and face shields. And if you look at his Facebook page you will see picture after picture of a normal American Boy with his friends enjoying his hobby.

So after all the questioning and intimidation by the police and school officials, they arrived at the truth, there was no threat. So, you know that they apologized to the young couple right? Of course they didn’t.

In fact, they suspended them both from school, even though both had been searched and neither had any weapons, nor had they made any threats against anyone or broken any laws. All they did was pose for a few campy pictures that dad took. For this major crime, they received a summary 10 day suspension. In addition they now have an appointment with the School Board at the end of that time so it can decide if they will be tossed out permanently for their actions.

 

titos-pic-225x300.jpeg

 

 

 

 

if you care to, you can leave a message to the school here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-Plymouth-Regional-Technical-School/158125430885776

Please refrain from profanity.

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As much as I hate lawyers and lawsuits...

SUE SUE SUE

+1

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Massachusetts.

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Uh... There may be a bit more to the story...

 

Per a Fox News article, when the kids posted the picture on Facebook then labeled it "Homecoming." And if you weren't a practiced Airsoft player, the guns sure appear real, and in today's world could - and perhaps should - be taken as a threat.

 

I'm thinking that school authorities may have not had much choice but to react. :(

 

Article

 

Jailes Pereira, of Middleboro, Mass., told FoxNews.com that his daughter Jamie and her boyfriend Tito Velez, both 16, meant no harm when they posted the photo on Facebook late Friday.

 

“It was an innocent mistake,” Pereira said. “It was a totally innocent, stupid mistake that Tito made by putting the word ‘homecoming’ at the bottom of the photo and then posting it to Facebook. If he had not posted the word ‘homecoming,’ there would’ve been no problem. I understand [school officials’] take on it, but it was not intended with malice at all.”

 

:wacko:

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Uh... There may be a bit more to the story...

 

Per a Fox News article, when the kids posted the picture on Facebook then labeled it "Homecoming." And if you weren't a practiced Airsoft player, the guns sure appear real, and in today's world could - and perhaps should - be taken as a threat.

 

I'm thinking that school authorities may have not had much choice but to react. :(

 

Article

 

Jailes Pereira, of Middleboro, Mass., told FoxNews.com that his daughter Jamie and her boyfriend Tito Velez, both 16, meant no harm when they posted the photo on Facebook late Friday.

 

“It was an innocent mistake,” Pereira said. “It was a totally innocent, stupid mistake that Tito made by putting the word ‘homecoming’ at the bottom of the photo and then posting it to Facebook. If he had not posted the word ‘homecoming,’ there would’ve been no problem. I understand [school officials’] take on it, but it was not intended with malice at all.”

 

:wacko:

 

OK, so it had "Homecoming" as a caption. "Homecoming" came and went, the kids went, sans weapons, and had a good time, and then they were called into the office the following Monday, where officials and law enforcement inappropriately interrogated them, and then suspended them, despite there being no danger. I'm still in the children's corner unless someone shows me more.

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Uh... There may be a bit more to the story...

 

Per a Fox News article, when the kids posted the picture on Facebook then labeled it "Homecoming." And if you weren't a practiced Airsoft player, the guns sure appear real, and in today's world could - and perhaps should - be taken as a threat.

 

I'm thinking that school authorities may have not had much choice but to react. :(

 

Article

 

Jailes Pereira, of Middleboro, Mass., told FoxNews.com that his daughter Jamie and her boyfriend Tito Velez, both 16, meant no harm when they posted the photo on Facebook late Friday.

 

“It was an innocent mistake,” Pereira said. “It was a totally innocent, stupid mistake that Tito made by putting the word ‘homecoming’ at the bottom of the photo and then posting it to Facebook. If he had not posted the word ‘homecoming,’ there would’ve been no problem. I understand [school officials’] take on it, but it was not intended with malice at all.”

 

:wacko:

I disagree. The school's actions were AFTER the fact. The homecoming event was over, and there were no firearms or airsoft guns at the school. Unless the witless school administrators had knowledge of a time machine the students could have used to take their evil airsoft guns back to the homecoming event, this was nothing but a malicious trampling of their rights.

 

Laz

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OK, so it had "Homecoming" as a caption. "Homecoming" came and went, the kids went, sans weapons, and had a good time, and then they were called into the office the following Monday, where officials and law enforcement inappropriately interrogated them, and then suspended them, despite there being no danger. I'm still in the children's corner unless someone shows me more.

 

Well Doc, I'm assuming that they weren't called in to the office until Monday because the picture and caption was posted on Friday night. Don't know if the prom was on Friday or Saturday, but there was a weekend in there... and schools tend to be closed on weekends.

 

This isn't the same as the issue of allowing kids to have yearbook pictures posed with firearms doing shooting sports activities... I'm just saying that I can understand how it was construed as a potential threat raised an alert level with school authorities. And, having worked for years on school site councils and serving on a number of committees with oversight responsibilities, I can assure you that had this happened locally (in a VERY conservative area) the school authorities would have been seriously taken to task if they had ignored it.

 

Very often following a much-publicized shooting there's mentions of the shooter's facebook postings before the event. And remember, the article pointed out that "The picture was posted hours after a Washington state teen shot five fellow students inside his high school before taking his own life..."

 

In this case, I'm sure the kids didn't mean harm, and are probably on balance more wholesome than Wonder bread ~ but even the one kid's dad admitted that it was a serious error in judgement on the kid's part.

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If they had showed up at the event with them, yeah, I'd say the school might have some standing to suspend them.

But they were in a private home. With parental supervision.

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C'mon, Joe... how are the school administrators - who, by the way, are charged with the safety of all kids when at school or school functions - s'posed to know there was "parental supervision???"

 

I work about a mile from a high school (not in the district I mentioned above) that used to have frequent lockdowns and evacuations because of threats - someone posting somewhere or starting a rumor that that "someone was going to die on Tuesday!" kind of things.

 

So the next time some punk does post a picture of himself with his guns on Facebook then shoots some kids, what do we say? "Gee... the school administrators weren't doing their job?"

 

These kids will get over the "trauma" of being chastised for poor judgement a hell of a lot faster than, say, some parents in Marysville.

 

Here's a similar story....

 

Police Question Stevenson High Student

 

Perhaps schools should have a required short class on safe internet use... do's and don'ts!

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Regardless of all of our feelings. What the school officials and the police did was illegal. A minor cannot be questioned or interrogated without the presence of a parent, guardian or in extreme circumstances, their own lawyer. I agree ...sue ...sue the school...sue the legal official's department. This is a country where we are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Fear of terrorism has made everybody a bit too jumpy for my taste. Granted...putting "Homecoming" in the caption was a stupid thing to do, but the kid is exactly that...a kid(read minor). Their constitutional rights were seriously impinged upon.

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Hardpan.....so your saying it was ok to violate their civil rights and interogate them without their parents or a lawyer?

 

Nope. Not what I said at all.

 

Go back and re-read what I said, which was basically that it's understandable why, in the shadow of recent, horrid school shootings, when a kid posts pictures on Facebook apparently holding a BIG gun and making a reference to his schools homecoming dance, the school administration reacted.

 

Did they over-react? Maybe... maybe not, initially. Dunno.... likely the suspension was in accordance with whatever their policies are.

 

AS far as the questioning by the police, well... that was the police, not the school officials.

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It's a tricky world we live in.

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First of all in Pennsylvania the police interrogation of the students was absolutely illegal and a complete violation of their rights, where was the emergency? They had the kids and they had no weapons so there was no longer any emergency if there was ever one.

Second where does the school get the right to suspend them for exercising their first amendment and second amendment rights?

These schools need to be brought to task in court for their flagrant and intentional smashing of students rights

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Hardpan.....the article says the school questioned them and would not let them call their parents before calling the police. That is denying them their rights. The school was totally wrong period!

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Well Billy, perhaps you're right. I'm neither a lawyer nor a judge. My comment was that I understand why the school officials reacted. And by the way... that whole "homecoming" component of the story was omitted from the original post; it may have tempered some people's thinking had it been included. As a matter of fact, even the picture was added later.

 

I'm curious... does every kid who's ever called to the principal's office have the "right" to immediately call his parents? That's not a "smart-ass" question - I really don't know. But if they do, then I'm pretty sure MY rights were violated MANY times when I was a youngster... :rolleyes:

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Okay.

 

I wasn't there.

 

My opinion is based on what I read.

 

Do enjoy your Thursday! :)

 

I'm off to carve a pumpkin! ^_^

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Hardpan, while I understand your point of view, I believe we will need to agree to disagree on this one. Mrs. Doc is a teacher, and I still have a daughter in high school, so I can say without hesitation that I want a school to take appropriate action as quickly as possible, given a threat. The article you posted, while easily distinguished from the case in the OP, is a pretty good example. The final line of the post is cryptic at best, and can easily be construed as a threat. However, I would still expect and demand that the student's rights be carefully looked after. There are two reasons for this. First, these are Constitutional rights we're talking about. When we let them fall aside for one, we weaken them for all. The second reason is that if the child actually is a danger, admits to planning violence or whatever, nothing that was admitted to in front of police without parental consent is admissible in court. So, you now have this dangerous person walking around, not getting help or being held accountable. Anything the police find as a result of the admission is inadmissible in court. If the administration says anything publicly, they are guilty of violating the person's rights to privacy. Then where are we?

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Uh... Doc?

 

Now, what are we disagreeing about...? Are ya SURE we're disagreeing...? I'm not so sure.

 

One more time, if y'all go back and read my posts CLOSELY you're not likely to find ANY comments by me in support of depriving the kids of any rights. Pretty much all I said was that I understood why they administration reacted.

 

Now, that said, can anyone even comment on the "alleged" questioning? I don't know what was asked by whom... as far as I know, they might have waterboarded 'em. Or they may have only asked "did you post this picture?" then left 'em alone until the po-lice arrived. We don't even know what the police said or asked... might have threatened to ship 'em off to the archipelago or may have been little or nothing. I don't know... and so I didn't defend the school OR the police for violating anyone's rights. I couldn't and I wouldn't have.

 

Actually, the OP article skirted such details with the artfulness of some political commercials we're suffering through these days...

 

Your witness, Counselor! ;)

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Whether the post was before or after the event makes no difference. At the next school day the event was past and no one was directly threatened nor was any "weapon" found to be present at the event. So even a brain dead school administrator knows there is no immediate threat, so they have no excuse to not call the parents or allow the kids to phone the parents. Nothing the kids say to the police nor the administrators would be admissible so not only are the administrators idiots, so are the cops (the cops darn well know better too, or they should).

 

This is not a a case of any threat nor of anything other than the PC stupidity known by administrators as zero tolerance and by intelligent people as zero brains. Administrators like it because it saves them from the trouble of intelligent rational thought and the tax payers end up footing the bill since the administrator can claim he was just following policy - don't blame me, I was just following orders. This doesn't just happen in stupid places like Massachusetts. You can google "Tweety Bird key chain" to see what CNN and believe it or not the ACLU had to say about another dim witted administrator here in Cobb County, Georgia. The gun laws here are mostly reasonable unlike the formerly free state of Massachusetts and you still have this kind of crap.

 

No wonder home schooled kids make the education system look so bad!

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Rusty, I cannot believe you wrote that.

 

Let's say Sam Jones sez "I'm gonna shoot up the school on Friday!"

 

Friday comes and passes; nobody gets shot.

 

Does that mean that Sam's now in everybody's good graces? Golly Gee... Sam must be a good guy after all! He said he was gonna shoot somebody on Friday and didn't, so that means nobody got shot on Friday. Huh! That would also mean there's no danger at all that he ever will. Whoppee! ^_^

 

Good thing no "brain dead administrator" might have considered that there's a remote possibility that it could still happen... :rolleyes:

 

Okay, yall... I'm outta here. You guys can have it ~ the thread is yours.

 

You and yours be safe now, ya hear? ;)

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Hardpan, man, I didn't say they shouldn't talk to the kids, nor did I say they shouldn't talk to the parents.

 

There is a huge difference in dealing with something that might be considered a possible threat sometime in the non immediate future and running around in a circle screaming like their hair is on fire! Calm and rational is what was called for, the kids didn't bring their scary toys to school, nor according to anything reported did they threaten anyone. If the school administrator had bothered to call the parents he might have discovered that the items were in fact toys. He could have then had a calm and rational discussion with the parents about why the title of the picture was inappropriate. The problem, is the administrator was anything but calm or rational. The cops should have brought the parents in themselves, nothing was done to calm the situation by any "authority" and now as a minimum the entire school system there looks foolish and irrational. Worse yet the parents may sue the school system, and even if the school district should win, the tax payers will foot the bill for the lawyers when the whole stupid thing could have easily been avoided.

 

Why is it we so often see hysterical gibbering foolishness from school administrators? Shouldn't we expect more from the people who are in charge of the schools our kids attend?

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Besides there was no actual threat. The kids did not actually say they were going to shoot up a school. It was an ASSUMPTION!!!! on the part of the school officials. And they panicked.

 

Just because the photo said homecoming under it did not necessarily mean homecoming dance was going to be shot up.

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Uh... There may be a bit more to the story...

 

Per a Fox News article, when the kids posted the picture on Facebook then labeled it "Homecoming." And if you weren't a practiced Airsoft player, the guns sure appear real, and in today's world could - and perhaps should - be taken as a threat.

 

I'm thinking that school authorities may have not had much choice but to react.

 

OK, I believe I see the confusion. The implication of the above being that you approved of the administration's reaction, when you actually didn't say so. Shame on me for jumping to that conclusion. I believe we are in agreement that the administration needed to at least look into the matter, despite the fact that Homecoming had passed with no problems. You later wrote the following:

 

 

 

Did they over-react? Maybe... maybe not, initially. Dunno.... likely the suspension was in accordance with whatever their policies are.

 

Given this, I think it is safe to say I couldn't disagree with you, since you are undecided, which is fine. I will say that I don't agree with the policy that allows such a suspension to occur.

 

Finally, addressing your following:

 

 

 

Now, that said, can anyone even comment on the "alleged" questioning? I don't know what was asked by whom... as far as I know, they might have waterboarded 'em. Or they may have only asked "did you post this picture?" then left 'em alone until the po-lice arrived. We don't even know what the police said or asked... might have threatened to ship 'em off to the archipelago or may have been little or nothing.

 

From the OP:

 

 

Both minors were questioned by school officials, split up and the police were called. The parents were not notified, nor was there any kind of child advocate at the scene. When the kids asked to call their parents, school officials told them to “be quite” (sic). Police finally showed up and the young man and woman were searched along with their lockers and book bags. Nothing was found. The officers “talked” to the students, again without benefit of counsel or parents.

 

Now, I think it is somewhat clear the original article was biased in its presentation, in favor of the kids. However, taking what it says at face value, when administrators began questioning the children about something that could clearly lead to criminal charges, they did nothing to protect their rights. When the kids expressly asked to call their parents, they were denied that ability. The fact that they were denied parental consultation over a matter that could at a minimum lead to suspension or expulsion is, in my opinion, very problematic, to say the least.

 

Now, how do we know the administration should have anticipated the possibility of criminal charges? Well, what did they do next? Separate the kids and call in law enforcement. If the matter were to be handled within the school system, then there was no need to make that call. Once police arrived, the article indicated the police "talked" to the children again. Now, the police didn't go into that discussion cold. That is, they surely knew the basis for being called. It is only logical they would also have known of the possibility of criminal action, depending on how things worked out. That said, the police "talk" should have been limited to getting their names, and contact information for their parents, so they could be contacted. Given the situation, the children had every reason to believe that they were at that point being detained by law enforcement, had the children started to offer more information, it was likely incumbent on the police to stop them from doing so, until their parents arrived. I could be wrong, but from all I have read, I certainly get the impression that they went beyond that bare minimum of gathering pertinent information.

 

So, I think that clarifies my thoughts and opinions, and my bases for such. I hope I understand yours as well. I also hope the pumpkin carving went well.

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