A student at East Clinton High School in Sabina, Ohio, had high anticipation for the release of a popular video game. Unfortunately, not everyone else was as excited as he was, and some mistook his enthusiasm as evidence that he was preparing to do something violent.
The unnamed student drew a circle on a whiteboard in his classroom toward the end of November this year, with a black cross intersecting inside the middle of the circle, according to reporting from BuzzFeed News. The student also wrote, “Dec. 7th, Time to” with the drawing of the logo completing the sentence.
After witnessing the boy drawing the logo two days in a row in the last days of last month, four students who saw him doing so took their concerns to the school’s principal, Kerry Matheny.
It turns out, their worries were all over a video game, and the boy’s excitement for its release date.
The logo the boy drew, as he explained it to Matheny, was from the popular video game Super Smash Bros., produced by Nintendo. The date he wrote next to the logo was the release date for the game on the company’s newest console, the Switch. The student expressed regret, stating that he “did not mean to cause an alarm” over his genuine excitement for the game’s release
That conversation was enough for Matheny to be satisfied, and she relayed the explanation to the students who brought their concerns. Unfortunately, rumors had already started permeating the school, and students had already assumed the worst: that the boy who drew the logo was planning a mass shooting on December 7.
Rumors swirled about a potential school shooting at an Ohio high school after a student wrote a Super Smash Bros. logo on a white board, which his classmates misinterpreted as a threathttps://t.co/6NyBHTtHfo— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 11, 2018
On Wednesday last week, the school district’s superintendent sent an email to parents with students in the school explaining to them that there wasn’t such a threat from the student in question. “It has been determined that there was never any actual threat, just misinterpretations of the message about the video game,” they wrote.
It may seem silly to some, but the reality is that school shootings are happening more and more often across the United States. Their prevalence is growing at so fast a rate that, per the data from one recent study conducted earlier this year, there have been more school shootings — and individuals killed in them — in the past 18 years than there were in the combined total of the entirety of the 20th century, according to reporting from Science Daily.