Two students suspended after posting controversial homecoming photo

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MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. -- 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.

Airsoft guns are replicas that fire plastic pellets and are intended to be non-lethal.

guns homecomingVelez 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 Pereira and Velez 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.

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.

“Suspending us for 10 days and possible expulsion is way too much," Pereira said.


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  • KB

    wow how stupid of the school. kids will be kids, i see could suspending them students for 2 days, not 10. Im sure the superintendent did stupid crap in his/her high school days, we all have!

  • Amber Davis

    OMG it wasn’t like they were taking the pictures at school or something. i’m sure that people reading this thinks the school system is just a bunch of idiots….why were they looking at their instagrams anyways????

  • Robert

    It seems to me that these schools tend to be very selective. It’s a constitutional right to bear arms, it’s not like they are in the school it’s self, yet schools seem to have no problems with two guys kissing in a recent school picture. How could this be any different? Myself I would be proud for my daughter to pose with a riffle over her missing anyone. At that age flames comes and goes, but the love of hunting always seems to stay. But that said I might not approve it but I would never stop my kids from the things or people they love. For all you anti gun nuts out there it’s called freedom, liberty. I hope the parents sue just to prove a point. I’ll lay money down that they will win. It’s been done before. Shame on this school and it’s deeply insulting.

  • Mary

    that is proper punishment. Yes kids will be kids like most people think but an hour before the shooting at the school recently in Washington the kid texted a picture of him holding a gun to his ex girlfriend and than he the shooting happened. What makes us think that these kids were not thinking the same thing? Or how would others take it as a joke? Yes the other case was a real gun and these are not but still – when you post things like that on any social media you should face the consequences. Just my opinion.

  • Esther

    This is an example of a school usurping authority from the parents. It was totally inappropriate to suspend them for something that happened at home. The kids probably should’ve left the orange tips on the guns, though.

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