Dinosaurs no longer walk the earth, at least in real life. Nevertheless, Reason.com said on Wednesday, 16-year-old Alex Stone, a student at Summerville High School in Summerville, South Carolina, was arrested and suspended for writing a story in which he killed a dinosaur with a gun.
According to Reason, Stone was given an assignment to write a story about himself that included a Facebook-like "status." He chose to embellish the story with fictional details, Robby Soave said. But the teacher apparently couldn't bear to see the word "gun."
"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," Stone said, according to NBC-12. But Stone said his messages were taken out of context.
"I could understand if they made him re-write it because he did have 'gun' in it. But a pet dinosaur?" asked Karen Gray, Alex's mother. "I mean first of all, we don't have dinosaurs anymore. Second of all, he's not even old enough to buy a gun."
The teacher contacted police after seeing "gun" and "take care of business." Authorities searched Stone's school bag and locker and did not find a gun. Nor did they find the remains of the fictitious dinosaur he claimed to have killed in his fictional "status."
When officers asked Stone about the status, he said it was a joke. But writing about killing fictional dinosaurs with a non-existent gun is no laughing matter, apparently, and the young man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Additionally, Stone was suspended from school for the rest of the week.
Both Stone and his mother say they understand the sensitive nature of what he wrote. Nevertheless, they say the school overreacted to the situation.
"I regret it because they put it on my record, but I don't see the harm in it," the young man said. "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."
Gray also expressed anger that the school did not contact her before Alex was arrested. According to Gray, her son simply followed the teacher's instructions and completed his assignment.
"If the school would have called me and told me about the paper and asked me to come down and discussed everything and, at least, get his point-of-view on the way he meant it," she said. "I never heard from the school, never. They never called me."
Reason said the incident has "dethroned" the pop-tart gun suspension as "the most absurd zero tolerance story." In March 2013, a second-grade Maryland boy was suspended after chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun.