Taunton students suspended for homecoming photo

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A Taunton high school couple is facing expulsion over a photo they posted on Facebook.

The Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School students snapped a picture while holding airsoft guns before their homecoming dance last Friday, and it led to their suspension.

The school’s superintendent said a meeting has been scheduled with the school’s principal to determine their exact punishment, while the students say they did nothing wrong.

At first glance the guns do in fact look dangerous, but the toy guns shoot plastic pellets – not bullets.

“This isn’t dangerous, you can’t kill someone with it,” said Velez. “We didn’t shoot anyone, we were pointing them at the floor. Everything was on safe, no batteries.”

The couple said they never took the guns to school.

“Never, we never took them to school. That would be stupid,” Velez said.

“I understand, but I think they took this way too far,” added Pereira. “Suspending us for ten days and possible expulsion is way too much.”

The picture itself may not ultimately be the issue, but rather the caption underneath, relating it to their school’s homecoming. The superintendent said it tied airsoft guns to a school function.

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

The superintendent also said parents of students at the school reached out to him, supporting the decision to suspend the students, but phone calls and emails from around the country have also poured in, attacking the action.

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