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South Carolina teen arrested at school: Shot a dinosaur with a gun... in a story

Stranger than fiction?: A 16-year-old South Carolina high school student, Alex Stone, was arrested, he said, for writing a story about using a 'gun' to kill his neighbor's pet dinosaur.
Stranger than fiction?: A 16-year-old South Carolina high school student, Alex Stone, was arrested, he said, for writing a story about using a 'gun' to kill his neighbor's pet dinosaur.
Klaus with K, Creative Commons

A South Carolina teen was arrested this week after he wrote a story for an assignment wherein he killed a neighbor's pet dinosaur with a gun. And although some media sources have alluded that the 16-year-old was arrested for the dinosaur shooting and/or possessing a firearm, it would appear his arrest stemmed from neither. The paper was simply the ignition point that would eventually see the teen placed under arrest.

Newser reported Aug. 25 that Alex Stone, a 16-year-old freshman student at Summerville High School, says he was arrested after writing about killing a dinosaur with a gun. According to the teen, he had written a story where he had purchased a gun "to take care of the business" of shooting his neighbor's pet dinosaur, Fox News recounted. Teachers were so alarmed by the details of the story that they called the local police. He was summarily arrested and suspended from school for three days.

Alex Stone then retained a lawyer, according to WCSC in Charleston, who is currently looking into addressing the teen's suspension and arrest.

Stone says that students had been charged to write a story as if they were filling in the "status" element on Facebook. He says his statements were taken completely out of context. "I killed my neighbor's pet dinosaur, and, then, in the next status I said I bought the gun to take care of the business," the teen explained.

“This is a perfect example of ‘political correctness' that has exceeded the boundaries of common sense," Attorney David Aylor said in a statement released on Thursday. "Students were asked to write about themselves and a creative Facebook status update – just days into the new school year – and my client was arrested and suspended after a school assignment."

Stone's mother, Karen Gray told WCSC, "I could understand if they made him re-write it because he did have 'gun' in it. But a pet dinosaur? I mean first of all, we don't have dinosaurs anymore. Second of all, he's not even old enough to buy a gun."

As for the police, they maintain the teen was arrested for his behavior, that the story was tangential and unconnected to Alex Stone's arrest.Summerville Police Capt. Jon Rogers said in a statement released on Thursday: "The information that is being reported is grossly incorrect in reference to what led to the juvenile being charged. The charges do not stem from anything involving a dinosaur or writing assignment, but the student's conduct."

Police say Stone became disruptive after they searched his locker and bookbag for a gun. A firearm was not recovered. The teen grew angry when school officials asked about the comments made in his story. He told them it was "a joke." But when he continued to be disruptive, police put him in handcuffs and told him he was being detained. School officials subsequently suspended him from school for three days.

Karen Gray says she was furious at Summerville High School officials for not calling her before having her son arrested. She said she never heard from the school.

As for young Alex Stone? Has he learned anything from the experience?

"I regret it because they put it on my record, but I don't see the harm in it," Stone told WCSC. "I think there might have been a better way of putting it, but I think me writing like that, it shouldn't matter unless I put it out towards a person."