The Iola Independent School District of Iola, Texas, has decided to discipline a student after a 4-year-old photo of him resurfaced on social media, according to KBTX-TV.
The photo, which was posted on Facebook on August 22, was allegedly of the now junior high-aged student holding a handgun under adult supervision back when he was 9 years old.
Investigators jumped on the post when they noticed that the picture’s caption mentioned “school” in a non-threatening manner.
Scott Martindale, superintendent of the Iola ISD, defended the investigation while making sure to alleviate any fears that parents, teachers or students may have felt.
“It was a young student, had a handgun in the picture and part of the wording on the picture it had the word ‘school’ in it,” he said. “So we take that stuff very seriously here.”
“As we investigated we found out the picture was a four-year-old picture. The picture had a caption that mentioned school. It did not threaten the school whatsoever it just mentioned the school,” he continued.
The district involved law enforcement, and they both questioned the boy on the second day of the new school year. They also reportedly searched him and determined he had no gun.
“It took us five minutes to handle this situation and handle it appropriately,” Martindale said. “It was before school started. We had two younger students report something to our elementary principal. By 7:55 the elementary principal tracked that student down that had the posting.”
Thankfully the situation didn’t last very long, but it’s quite clear that firearm hysteria can grip even rural Texas towns that arm some of their teachers.
The Grimes County Sheriff’s Office believed that there was still a need to investigate, despite the fact that there was no threat to the school and no evidence of the boy holding a gun at any point in the last four years.
“The issue was not the the juvenile had a firearm, he was under adult supervision at the time he had the firearm,” Lt. Daniel Wagnon said. “The sole reason for the investigation was the the comment was made about the school in conjunction with a firearm.”
Despite the fact that the photo was old, there was no threat, and the entire ordeal lasted less than five minutes, the school is still going to punish the student “according to district policy.” It is unclear which district policy he violated in his non-threat.
Apparently, the County Attorney is currently reviewing the case as well, and no charges have been filed as of publication. Hopefully, none will be, as punishing the student in-house is crazy enough.
Let’s hope this misunderstanding doesn’t get too far out of hand, which is all too likely in the hysterical world we live in.
Threats made on social media can and should be investigated. The possibility of taking someone’s life is incredibly serious, which should go unsaid.
However, this story comes on the heels of a similar incident in which a student was banned from school after posting videos of himself shooting with his mother. Within one week, we have two cases in which a student was (or will be) punished by a school for pretty much nothing, and it’s not necessarily a new trend.
Paranoia about guns does not help anybody. Instead, it just keeps us in a perpetual state of terror and erodes trust in our fellow citizens. That’s not good for our country, nor is it good for our communities.
Mass shooters that inspire reactions like these want little more than to grip us with fear, and we can’t let the monsters control us.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.