Student investigated, faces expulsion, after comparing square root sign to gun

Deputies search home, but no charges file

David Vignoni, Flamurai, bayo via Wikimedia Commons

The Allen Parish, La., sheriff launched an investigation of a student at Oberlin High School after he compared the math symbol to a gun.

The home of a Louisiana high school student was searched after police interpreted a comment about the square root symbol as a possible terrorist.

The Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation of a student at Oberlin High School after he compared the math symbol to a gun, according to local news station KATC. Authorities said the student later said something that could be interpreted as a threat. 

Deputies told KATC that they searched the teenager's home after receiving a tip that, according to information spreading on social media, he was planning to bring a gun to school the next day.

The incident happened less than a week after 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland were killed when a gunmen opened fire. 

A post on the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook page said the student "used extremely poor judgment in making the comment,” KATC reported. “But in light of the actual circumstances, there was clearly no evidence to support criminal charges.”

The student was not arrested or charged, but under a new policy enacted by the local school board, he remains banned from the school property and faces expulsion.

Allen Parish School District Superintendent Michael Doucet said students were working together on a math problem when "a student made a math symbol of a square root sign, which kind of looks like a pistol.

"And he was helping a weaker student, and the student says, 'Well, that looks like a pistol!' And he just made a comment [like] 'let's just get to work before I shoot you with a pistol.'”

Under the new policy, students accused of talking about guns or school shootings will be investigated by the school board, the sheriff's department, and the district attorney's office.

"The first thing we're going to do is remove that student from the premises with proper authority. Then, we're going to have a home visit done by detectives of the sheriff's department, and if no charges are filed, we're going to conduct a threat assessment on the student,” Doucet said.

Doucet told KATC that he's is concerned by the new stricter guidelines, but doesn't want to take any chances.

"Does it concern me sometimes? Sure it does!" he said. "But if you lost a child and didn't take an incident seriously because you thought it was minor and something did happen, that parent that lost that child would be hard to explain.” 



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