Two students suspended after posting controversial Facebook photo

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Jamie Pereira and Tito Velez.
Jamie Pereira and Tito Velez.

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. — Two high school students say they are facing expulsion for having toy guns — guns they never brought to school.

They look like real weapons, but they are airsoft guns that shoot plastic pellets.

Last week, Tito Velez, 15, and his girlfriend Jamie Pereira posted for their homecoming picture last week holding the guns and posting it to Facebook. And it got them suspended from school.

“This isn’t dangerous. You can’t kill someone with it,” Velez said. “We didn’t shoot anyone, we were pointing them at the floor. Everything was on safe, no batteries, they never left house. Never, we never took them to school. That’d be stupid.”

“I understand, but I think they took this way too far,” Pereira said. “Suspending us for 10 days and possible expulsion is way too much.”

But the teenagers put a caption on the photo relating it to homecoming at Bristol Plymouth Vo-Tech, tying the airsoft guns to a school function.

“These students know what is … provocative,” Superintendent Richard Gross said. “And to tie that to one of our school events kind of puts it over the top which brings us into it.”


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