The suspension of two New Jersey high school students over a gun photo has prompted backlash including a possible lawsuit.
The photo showed two students and four rifles along with ammunition clips and a gun duffel bag.
The photo was shared by one of the students on the social media application Snapchat with the caption “fun day at the range,” according to Amanda Buron, a family friend of one of the students.
Students started circulating the picture and it was eventually brought to the attention of Lacey Township High School officials. Buron told NJ Advance Media that the students received a five-day in-school suspension for violating the school’s policy on weapons possession.
However, many people on social media pointed out that the photo was published from a gun range and may not have warranted any action.
Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley told the Advance that “information posted on social media is incorrect,” but he couldn’t elaborate because the matter was private.
“We are not at will to contradict public opinion on the internet,” Wigley said.
A scheduled school board meeting for Monday is being targeted by people upset over the suspension.
And a state gun advocacy group, The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, threatened a lawsuit against the school district if the district didn’t change a rule stating students could be suspended for up to a year if they are “reported to be in possession of a weapon of any type for any reason or purpose on or off school grounds.”
“The policy is clearly wrong and violates the Second Amendment,” association executive director Scott Bach told the NJ Advance Media. “We hope that they’re reasonable people and they will fix it. If they don’t, we’re prepared to take legal action.”
Attorney Daniel Schmutter said the group wants the district to apologize to the students and clear their records.
HS students' suspension over gun range photo ignites uproar, potential lawsuit https://t.co/QQLNPuKRaG
— TK (@MrsKutas) March 19, 2018
— Brandy Danette (@BookWorm2136) March 19, 2018
He told Patch that both students are straight-A students who take some advanced placement courses.
“These are top-quality kids,” he said. “It’s astonishing what they have done to these kids.”
According to 1015, Wigley said in a letter to parents on Friday that the language in the handbook would be updated and denied that the gun policy had been used to punish any students.
“No rights were violated. No student(s) has/have been disciplined/suspended under Policy 5611- removal of pupils from the general education program for weapons/firearms offenses now or since my tenure,” Wigley wrote.
“The recent rumors and social media posts are not related to Policy 5611 as no student has been disciplined for violating Policy 5611. The administration appreciates the respectful feedback we have received.”
However, one of the students said on Facebook that he was punished for sharing the picture.
Wigley also said that the school would be “clarifying the language” of the rule in question.