Students Suspended For Holding Airsoft Guns In Photo Taken In Living Room

Students Suspended For Holding Airsoft Guns In Photo Taken In Living Room

Two Massachusetts high school sweethearts–Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira–are suspended from school after posing with Airsoft toy guns for a photograph at home before attending a homecoming dance last week.

Pereira and Velez are students at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School. The photo was taken by Velez’s father in their living room and then posted to Facebook.

According to NECN.com, Pereira said, “We took [the pictures] with the Airsoft guns because that’s our hobby, and we wanted to include them.” But school officials argue that the photo caused “a disruption at the school.”

School district superintendent Dr. Richard Gross said he didn’t have a problem with the Airsoft guns, and he understands free speech. However, he “takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads ‘Homecoming 2014.'” He added: “When you tie that to a school event, that’s something to be concerned about.”

Velez defended the couple’s photograph on CBS Boston, explaining that the guns are toys that shoot plastic pellets. Yet Dr. Gross said the entire homecoming dance would have been canceled had police discovered the photo prior to the start of the event. 

The suspension may last as long as 10 days, although the superintendent says there will be a hearing to consider reducing the punishment.

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