Middle school student's Facebook photo puts police, school on alert

Photo depicts student wearing ski mask and brandishing pistol.
TNS Regional News
Mar 31, 2014


A menacing photo posted on Facebook by a Conneaut Middle School student caught the attention of city police and school officials early Friday morning.

Police were informed late Thursday night of a photo posted on the popular social media site by a 15-year-old CMS student. The photo depicts the student wearing a ski mask and brandishing a pistol, said Police Chief Charles Burlingham. The student made no threats, the chief emphasized.

School officials were contacted, and the decision was made to intercept the student as he arrived at CMS, Burlingham said. Other students were “isolated” briefly until the student was confronted, he said.

Other students were kept a few additional minutes on school buses until the boy arrived, said Joel Taylor, CMS principal.

“They stayed on the bus a little longer than usual,” he said. “It was done in the best interest for the safety of the students.”

Classes were not impacted and the school conducted business as usual, Taylor said. He emphasized no threats were made.

“It was a precautionary measure because of a photo that was posted,” he said.

The student denied any “harmful intent” regarding the photo, Burlingham said. The boy described himself as an aspiring rap artist, and indicated the photo was meant to give him some credibility or establish an image, he said.

The gun depicted in the photo may have been a air-powered pistol, Burlingham said. The boy, who has already been cited into Juvenile Court hearing on another matter, was sent home.

Ashtabula County Sheriff William Johnson learned about the incident while in town Friday morning and dispatched some deputies to the school for extra security. “We appreciate the assistance,” Burlingham said.

City Manager Tim Eggleston praised the handling of the situation in an email message sent Friday morning. “Again, a fine job by our police personnel and the school administration for taking quick action and sending a message that the community will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” he wrote.


By Mark Todd - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



Probably a good idea !


Are you kidding? This is another case of a public school overstepping their bounds. I hope the parents sue. There was no threat and it is not illegal, even for a kid to wear a ski mask and hold what turned out to be an airsoft gun, take a pic and post it on facebook. I have pics of my kids shooting real guns, is that going to land them in jail if the school sees them? Talk about going overboard. If threats were made, that is one thing but apparently in this case someone who is afraid of guns decided to blow this up.


I wondered the same thing. My husband has posted pictures and video of my son at the range with him. Is someone going to call the cops over that? I agree if there was a threat made or if some sinister action was seen. But just a picture? Heck it doesn't even say where the gun was pointed! So all the pictures my husband has of himself with his guns are a problem too? Will someone call his employer, to warn them?

Dr. Information

If the LE didn't do anything and this kid shot up his school, then the same people crying intrusion, would blame the cops for not doing anything.


This had nothing to do with a school threat. Why didn't they question him at his house or meet him at the bus stop - instead of making a spectacle out of it by waiting until he got to the school?