CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Snapchat posts typically last for just a day and then disappear forever, but 17-year-old Alexandria Keyes is still being haunted by her post from two weeks ago.
The photo shows Alexandria and her brother, a U.S. Army veteran, holding guns and flipping off the camera, with a Confederate flag in the background.
A caption on the photo reads: “Me and my legal guardian are going to the gun range to practice gun safety and responsible gun ownership while getting better so we can protect ourselves while also using the first amendment to practice our second amendment.”
Keyes knew the post would be controversial, but she says she never thought it would get her suspended from school.
The Endeavor Academy suspended Keyes for five days, telling FOX31 their decision “involved multiple social media posts that concerned the school community and resulted in multiple parents keeping their kids home from school out of concern for safety.”
The school sent FOX31 a copy of the Cherry Creek School District’s discipline policy, but did not cite which policy was violated, prompting the suspension. The district also did not specify what other social media posts prompted safety concerns.
Alexandria’s mom says she is outraged, and plans to appeal the suspension.
“She didn’t break any laws. She didn’t break any rules, and what she did was completely within her rights,” Kelley McCollum said. “I said there are 17-year-olds who go hunting. There are 17-year-olds in the military. Are you panicked because of them? They wouldn’t answer that question.”
Alexandria says she often visits the shooting range with her mom and brother, and insists she’s never threatened violence toward classmates or teachers.
“I want them to know the meaning behind the post was completely innocent. I thought it was fun. I was going out with my brother to have a good time,” she said.
Regardless, for the next 5 days Alexandria must stay away from school. She’ll also have to miss her team’s championship volleyball game.
“It’s really hard because it’s my last year of high school. I just never wanted it to explode into something that scared people,” she said.
As for the inappropriate hand gesture in the photo, Keyes says it was a gesture intended for the enemy her brother fought overseas while in the Army.