2 students suspended after posting controversial Facebook photo

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Two high school students in Middleborough, Mass., 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.

Tito Velez,  Jamie Pereira

Jamie Pereira, Tito Velez

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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62 comments

  • True McAfee

    These people that run their goddamn school, They sound like mother fucking Idiots. Know what fucking these mother fucking Nazis! I won’t allow my kids to go to Public schools. They’ll be home schooled, and that’s the end of that. I won’t allow my kids rights to be messed with like theses kids have. fuck the country and it’s people.

  • SDkid605

    Read below for several of the stupidest comments ever made.
    This is just two responsible shooting sports enthusiasts with BB guns in their own home environment.
    There’s nothing here but some crazy school administrators & parents overstepping their jurisdiction and integrity.
    Kids did nothing wrong and any hate sent their way should be directed to the real criminals of this country that wield guns ILLEGALLY and face weapons violations only to be let out like the freaks in Ferguson Missouri.
    Ignorance and over reaction abound in this case and the lemmings to the sea of this community are appalling.
    So anyone with a negative comment to these wholesome kids and their families doing the right thing is wrong.
    For crying out loud I shot myself in the thumb once with one of these rifles just to test the power.
    Hurt like heck and it was a lesson learned in being a stupid kid, but all the hate and bad publicity should be directed towards the real communities problems like the black folks of this community shooting each other and innocent folks around in double digits sometimes. People are dying here daily and the current inept and pathetic Presidential & Mayoral Mayoral Administration & Police force do absolutely nothing about it because votes don’t come from there.
    Political slush funds have done more for the Democratic party here than they have done for law abiding citizens.
    Thanks WGN for starting another firestorm of ignorance, and jumping on some anti gun propaganda while ignoring all the violent crimes and gun related violations that plague the black community. Have readers become so used to waking up to double digit shootings that this seems like it’s such a big deal ?

    How many black folks, gang bangers, and innocent bystanders will die tonight ?
    That sounds like the next big winner for the Illinois Lottery to siphon money away from schools & education.
    Lemmings to the sea of ignorance is the city of Chicago’s motto.

    I’m guessing that there will only be 3 or so dead, but double digit shootings tonight because it’s a little cold out.
    Yet, the stupid comments and harassment about these wholesome family members will continue all night.
    Chicago has never been an intelligent community and this goes far to prove it.
    Next you’ll be saying that ketchup CAN’T be put on a hot dog and the Cubs are contenders for anything but jokes.
    So how many young repeat weapons violaters will be running around the South Side tonight with loaded weapons ?
    Drugs ? Running with a Violent gang ? Owning and carrying a weapon with no FOID card or legal gun ownership ?
    With none of the Family, Friends, or Neighbors to inform the Police about their criminal behavior.
    Black community makes me sick, and so does lead flying in the air for the few good decent folks of Chicago.
    Current President & Mayor & Police force & Black community are a joke for not addressing the violent crime going on.
    How many do think will be dead tomorrow and will you, or a family member be one of those at the morgue by morning ?

      • SDkid605

        No, to point out that Chicago is way too soft on illegally possessed firearms.

        Modern America now realizes we should have just picked our own cotton.
        Rebel Yell.

      • MrCrabs

        The city of Chicago is not soft on illegal guns. If anything, they are overboard on legal guns. They had to be sued into restoring 2nd Amendment rights to honest, law abiding citizens. Illinois has nearly as many laws as California and Massachusetts, putting it in the top three (see ATF P 5300.5 STATE LAWS AND PUBLISHED ORDINANCES – FIREARMS (31ST EDITION – 2010 – 2011). Illinois had to be sued into allowing concealed carry permits. The real issue is a social problem within a subculture. A whole segment of low income society has grown up with no interest in education, marriage, or earning ones way though honest labor. That environment promotes gang affiliation and crime. To fit in you either randomly shoot someone, go to jail, or get killed in the process. Kids who pursue a safe hobby interest are not a menace to others. In this case I submit that there may be some additional bias by the Anglo-Saxon (Gross) against two kids who have Hispanic last names in addition to his irrational anti-second Amendment argument.

  • Common sense

    Why is everyone is Chicago so afraid of guns? Isn’t your gun control working up there? Wait, you mean the bad guys still have guns and are killing people!? No way, criminals wouldn’t break the law… These kids did nothing wrong. Of coarse, my children are homeschooled. They are protected by a good guy with a gun(s).

  • Betsy

    Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And if you do it anyway because “it’s a free country” (are we all twelve years old, really) you should have to learn about consequences. Or at least be ready to have your actions be debated and rated. Unfortunately, not always intelligently.

  • MrCrabs

    “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.” Gross, you are both immature and a a fascist. This is why this nation is in decline. Constantly punishing minors for everything that the “authoritarians” disagree with will produce a generation of wimps and a small bunch of extremely rebellious adults.

    • Betsy

      No, the reason our nation is in such decline is because we have become an immature society that thinks we should be able to do whatever we want and not suffer any consequences. We’ve become a society with the emotional age-equivalent of twelve year olds. We don’t want to be told what to do, we don’t exhibit any self-control or consider anything other than our immediate self-gratification. Then when things go wrong, we only want to punish The Last Bad Thing That Happened. I’m pro-gun, but anti-supporting stupid things that kids do.

      • MrCrabs

        Taking an image that shows a legitimate hobby interest is not “stupid”. By your logic, if a person said “I absolutely don’t like sport of hockey because it promotes violence.” then that person should be able to characterize anyone (youth or adult) who appears in a hockey uniform with a hockey stick in hand as “stupid”. How about fishing? Let’s say a person believes fishing is cruel. Then an image of someone catching a fish promotes cruelty to fish. Thus, the fisherman is “stupid”. I minority of persons who “don’t like it” have no right to abuse the rest of the population.

  • ZeroTolerance=ZeroCommonSense

    This is sad. Dozens of lives have ended or been ruined by school shootings. Unfortunately, thousands more lives have been ruined by libtards expelling kids for playing with toys.

  • ctyankee

    (Sarcasm on) Yes, it’s obvious from the demeanor of the kids that they plan to bring explosives to the function. Furthermore, the parents choice of decorative wreaths indicates a predilection to assault the chaperones with canned fish… (/Sarcasm)