In a follow up to the story we broke yesterday of a Loveland, Colorado teen who was banned from classes after he posted videos of himself shooting guns with his mother on Snapchat, the student has now been cleared to go back to class and the school is backpedaling.
Here’s a recap of what happened: Justine Myers took her son, Nate, shooting earlier this week. When they returned home they discovered the police were attempting to contact them. Nate had posted two videos on Snapchat; one video had the firearms they were going to use with the caption “Finna be lit” (which is teenage slang for “going to be a great time”), and the other was a video of him shooting while his mother instructed him. Someone had seen these videos and reported him to police via the school’s Safe 2 Tell system which allows anonymous tips to law enforcement and the school. The police spoke with Nate and his parents, watched the videos, determined Nate was not a threat to himself or others nor had he made any threats, and they were well within their legal rights. They then went on their way. But that wasn’t good enough for the school. The following morning a voicemail was received from Thompson Valley School District stating that Nate could not go to school and was banned indefinitely until a “threat assessment” hearing was completed. The school also refused to provide Nate with school work to prevent him from falling behind. When Justine explained the situation and stated the police had already assessed it and cleared him, her words were hastily dismissed by school officials.
After this story broke fellow parents, community members, and even elected officials contacted school admin and district board members to express their disapproval of this blatant violation of the student’s civil liberties, as well as the complete disregard for parental rights. And it undoubtedly had an effect.
The threat assessment hearing took place this morning and Nate has been cleared to return to class. The school officials came prepared with a packet of his homework, and stated they believed him to be a good kid and never thought he was making threats against the school. They acknowledged that his classmates may now react differently to him (I mean, he’s practically been accused of being the next school shooter, right?) and offered to make sure no one gave him trouble. The SRO who was present agreed that the Safe 2 Tell system is sometimes used inappropriately by students wishing to anonymously seek revenge on another student. School officials also cautioned Nate to not post these types of activities on social media. Justine quickly reminded them that this is his First Amendment they’re talking about, and although she gets their point, that is a dangerous slope they’re heading down.
When Justine questioned why any of this had to happen in the first place since the police had already assessed the situation, she was told the school hadn’t received the police assessment until the following afternoon, nearly 20 hours later. Now here’s where I call BS. If there is a report of a threat that is deemed credible enough to warrant police investigation to a student’s home on a weekday evening, the results of such investigation would have been relayed immediately to the school to determine if the school was safe to open the following day. And if that police assessment wasn’t immediately relayed, that school has far bigger security issues than any parent even realizes.
Everyone bent over backwards to try to right the situation, but no one went so far as to apologize.
Is it over for Nate? The good news is nothing permanent will go on his school record and he can continue his education. But he’s undoubtedly been traumatized by the entire situation and now will have a “reputation” at school. He’ll also have the thought police living in his own head every time he wants to share anything that isn’t lock-step with PC culture. And at 16 years old, he’s had his civil rights violated for participating in not one, but two, constitutionally protected activities – shooting guns and sharing a video of it.
On January 1, 2020 Colorado’s “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO law will go into effect. I’ve long said ERPO’s will be Safe2Tell for adults, and students have dubbed Safe 2 Tell as “Safe 2 Swat”, referencing the act of “swatting“, a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address. Had this same scenario taken place while the ERPO law is in effect, Justine likely would have lost her firearms.
We need to continue to rally together as a community and push back at every turn. If you or your child ends up in a situation like Nate’s, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Rally for our Rights. We’ve got your back.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms must always be defended!
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