Louisiana student investigated by police after allegedly saying a math symbol looks like a gun

Call it a case of gun-hysteria on steroids.  On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported that police were called after students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., discussed a mathematical symbol — the square root sign, to be precise.

According to the Herald:

On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.

Students in the group began commenting that the symbol, which represents a number that when multiplied by itself equals another number, looked like a gun.

According to the report, one student allegedly said something the sheriff’s office said could have sounded like a threat out of context — after other students made somewhat similar remarks.

Police searched the student’s home and found no guns and no evidence of any access to guns.  Apparently, they found no rogue square root signs hiding out in the home as well and there was no indication the student intended anyone any harm.

“The student used extremely poor judgment in making the comment, but in light of the actual circumstances, there was clearly no evidence to support criminal charges,” the department said, adding that the local school board had been contacted to determine any disciplinary action for the student, the report stated.

The Herald added:

The mass shooting sparked a wave of reported threats against other schools across the country — threats that are still coming in by the day and have set local parents, students and emergency officials on high alert.

In the Miami area alone, school threats jumped from one a week to as many as 50 a day, the Miami Herald reported.

Still, many on social media thought the reaction to the “threat” in Oberlin was more than a little overblown.



Careful saying that in public — someone might call the police…

But sadly, that’s where we’re heading as a country…

The student is awaiting an expulsion hearing and the school district has made some changes to its policies, according to a post at Reason:

Any student accused of talking about guns or school shootings will be investigated by three entities: the school board, the sheriff’s department, and the district attorney’s office.

If an incident like this occurs again, [Superintendent Michael] Doucet explained the protocol.

“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.

Here’s a video report of the incident:

Exit question:  Will CNN hold a town hall on square root symbols?



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