Two students suspended after posting controversial Facebook photo

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MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. -- Two high school students say they’re facing expulsion over a photo posted to Facebook.

Tito Velez, 16, and his girlfriend, Jamie Pereira, are shown holding airsoft guns in a homecoming photo they posted on Facebook last Friday, according to WCVB.

Tito Velez,  Jamie Pereira

Jamie Pereira, Tito Velez

Airsoft guns are replicas, which can fire plastic pellets, and are intended to be non-lethal.

Velez said they wanted their photo to be unique and use something other than flowers.

“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 the house. We never took them to school. That’d be stupid."

But when the teenagers put a caption on the photo, relating it to homecoming at their school -- Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School --it connected the airsoft guns to a school function.

School officials say students were talking about the photo in school on Monday and it caused a “disruption,” which is why they were suspended, the superintendent said.

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

Jamie Pereira says she understood, but thinks the school took it too far.

“Suspending us for 10 days and possible expulsion is way too much," Pereira said.

The students are suspended for up to 10 days. The superintendent said there will be a hearing about when or if they will be allowed to return.


  • Roberta

    Wow this is total bs…duh they were going to homecoming so why wouldnt that be in their caption..,.this has been taken to far already, suspension because of people talking about the photo…Get Jesus school officials

  • skkuhn

    Sorry they are sending a very controversial message. after recent episodes school shootings,I would have to side with the school officials

  • OneMan'sOpinion

    The school officials had no choice. The comments made by Bill, Michele, Linda and Roberta are from ignorance to holding public positions of leadership and the need to maintain discipline and decor. How do you feel about the story yesterday where a flight was cancelled after some named a Wi-Fi network after a terrorist organization? How do you feel about the story today that an entire school district cancelled classes when a bomb threat was made? What do you think about someone joking that they have Ebola in the room you are in? It’s all relative. If your kids went to that same school, it’s quite possible you would sing a different song. If you were on that school administration, it’s also quite possible you would see that you have to act. There are many conservatives elected to school boards (Bill and Linda) and there are plenty on school boards who know Jesus, Roberta.

    • Amy

      I remember when schools not only had guns and ammo on the property but shooting ranges on school property. There were no school shootings . Social media and liberals will be the end all of the America I grew up in. I travel extensively in Mass and I’ve already mark this state as lost to lack of common sense and call it the ANTIDEPRESENT STATE OF CONFUSION

  • joe

    Guns vs toy guns…
    Do you even know the difference?
    I do and would stand proud tbat all my children know the difference and know how to use both.
    Grow up all you liberals, and learn how to use them. Hopefully both you and I never have to use them, except for training…

  • Amy

    This is a prime example of why I removed Mass as a state on my map of the country. I now call it the ANTIDEPRESENT state of confusion . Thanks to irrational liberals . Thank GOD they didn’t go to the prom with FINGER GUNS or they might be felons. Bring back the day when schools had guns and ammo and rifle ranges / teams . I miss those days where people were level headed and intelligent.

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