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High School Student Suspended After ‘Surprise’ Facebook Post Is Interpreted As Threat

Student suspended for Facebook post

Roberta, GA — A Crawford County High School student was suspended after his plan to show up to school dressed as Santa Claus was misinterpreted as a threat by a parent.

Around 7 pm Tuesday, sophomore John George III wrote on Facebook, “Students of cchs ur in for a big surprise tomorrow <let the games begin>.”

A parent thought the post was a threat — given the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week — and called the police. An officer interviewed the parent and reviewed George’s Facebook page. He said it “appeared to have a very Gothic and dark theme” and had references to fighting and gangs.

Two officers went to the George family home around 10 pm Tuesday and questioned the teen and his parents. George told the officers that the surprise he was referring to was a plan for him and two friends to go to school dressed as Santa Claus and elves. His mother confirmed the plan, saying that he had bought a Santa Claus costume, and the high school student said he had told a teacher at the school about his intentions.

The police report filed by the officers said, “We then spoke briefly about the nature of the post and how with the recent tragedy of school shootings that had occurred that the post could cause unrest if taken the wrong way. We then left the residence without further incident.”

At the request of CCHS principal Mike Campbell, George was escorted off the school bus directly to the principal’s office by police the following morning. Campbell issued a news release that called the post “disturbing” and said George had been suspended while the matter was being investigated.

Police Chief Ben Thomas said he understand how the post could have been misinterpreted as a threat of violence against members of the school community.

“I guess it could have been that, with all the stuff that happened in the elementary school last week, the shootings and all, have people concerned,” he said.

The teenager’s father, John George Jr., said:

“We don’t own any guns. We don’t have any of that stuff going on here and we don’t believe in it. We’re a good family. He’s a mouthy kid like all of them, but he comes back in tune with everything and doesn’t cause any problems.”

In light of recent events, such as students taking guns to school and the spike in gun sales following the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, it is understandable that the school would be cautious about George’s post. Still, after the police confirmed that he only intended to spread some holiday cheer, the suspension may have been a step too far.

What do you think? Should John George III have been suspended over his Facebook post?

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Comments

8 Responses to “High School Student Suspended After ‘Surprise’ Facebook Post Is Interpreted As Threat”

  1. Tyrell Turner

    Can't judge him because the way he dresses. I laughed at this lol just the santa claus part. At least they took the proper precautions.

  2. Steve Cauley

    Here we go, the inevitable series of ridiculous, over-reactions have officially begun. You're more likely to be struck by lightening than to be a victim of a mass shooting. And what exactly was the purpose for further "investigation" once the post was explained? People are losing their ever-lovin' minds over this.

  3. RM Haase

    How sad that a few boys want to do something fun and exciting and are taken out by the police. Not to mention include the school as part of this festive act. They told a teacher maybe they should have told the police they were going to play santa and the elves at school. And yes agreeded the post came off the wrong way but had he been in the "IN" crowd would it have been a problem? I think this young man and his friends had a great idea for the holiday. How sad that in todays world our children cant be children anymore. This boy had probably not even though of what or how he was wording a comment on his own facebook page. What happen to freeedom of speech.

  4. John J. Ryan

    free speach unless we don't like the way you look! then we will destroy you with Government.