Yet another student has been suspended for having something that represents a gun, but isn’t actually anything like a real gun.
This time, Daniel McClaine, Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School in Tan Valley, Arizona, made the mistake of setting a picture of a gun as the desktop background on his school-issued computer.
The picture shows an AK-47 lying on a flag, reports KNXV-TV. The gun isn’t his, McClaine assured the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. He found it on the Internet and liked it, partly because he is interested in serving in the military after graduation.
A teacher reportedly ratted McClaine out after noticing the Soviet-era rifle on the computer. McClaine originally received a three-day suspension.
After McClaine’s father contacted the local press, Florence Unified School District officials suddenly decided that the younger McClaine could return to school on Monday.
District policy states that students cannot use school-issued laptops to send or display “offensive messages or pictures,” explains KNXV. Students also cannot use them to produce, retrieve, send or forward images that are considered “harassing, threatening or illegal.”
It’s not clear who determines what is “offensive” or “threatening,” or the basis upon which the determination was made in this case.
McClaine maintained that he read the guidelines but did not think that a picture of a gun could threaten or offend anyone.
“This gun wallpaper does not show anything that’s violent. It’s not showing anybody getting shot in any way,” the suspended freshman told the station. “It’s just a picture of a gun. It’s nothing — nobody getting shot, nobody getting it pointed at them. It’s nothing.”
The elder McClaine agreed.