A 16-year-old student at a Colorado high school was informed by the school district Wednesday that he was not allowed to return to classes until the school could conduct an investigation into an anonymous tip that he had posted "threatening" content online.
In a story that has gained national attention from conservative sites, including RedState, the parents of a junior at Loveland High School learned Wednesday that their son could not appear on campus until the Thompson Valley School District (TVSD) conducted a full investigation into a "Safe-2-Tell" anonymous tip prompted by a Snapchat post by their teen son.
As reported by Complete Colorado, 16-year-old Nathan Myers and his mother Justine Myers went to a shooting range on Tuesday, a moment that Nathan celebrated by posting a video on Snapchat showing some of the guns they were going to bring, including hand guns and an AR-15. The caption for the post read, "Finna be lit," which he explained to Complete Colorado is just slang used among his peers meaning he's "excited" about the chance to go to the range with his mom, who he hadn't seen in a few weeks due to his parents being separated.
"While we were at her house getting ready to go, I took a video of five or six pistols and an AR-15," Nathan told the outlet. "None of them were loaded, they were all in their cases."
"We had a great day," said Justine, a self-described gun enthusiast. "This is what we do. Nathan has been shooting many times with us. We are huge Second Amendment supporters."
Nathan also posted video of them at the range:
When they returned from shooting, Justine learned from messages left by Nathan's father that police officers had come to the house asking about his initial Snapchat post.
"His father told them he was out shooting with me, I am an avid shooter," Justine explained. "So, the officers said he wasn't in trouble and left."
Though the family thought the issue was settled, the next morning they were informed by the school district that Nathan could not return to classes.
"I called to ask why I couldn't go, and they said it was a safety concern because the student who reported it was scared I was going to shoot up the school," Nathan said.
The Myers say Nathan has never had any conflict with another student, enjoys a large circle of friends, and has no criminal record.
The Myers' "threat assessment hearing" with TVSD was scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.
Pro-Second Amendment site Rally for Our Rights' Lesley Hollywood reports that she spoke with Justine, "as well as two different attorneys who specialize in Second Amendment issues," and found that the school "is legally within their rights at this time."
"According to the attorneys, the school has a protocol that must be followed when a report of a threat comes in through Safe 2 Tell or other means, even if the report is completely false – and there is nothing parents or students can legally do about it, even with a lawyer," she reports.
Complete Colorado notes, however, that Colorado-based pro-Second Amendment organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners "posted on Facebook that it would supply the family with legal representation if the student’s story 'bears out as first reported.'"
Complete Colorado reached out to Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams to get his reaction to the situation. After sending him the Snapchat post with no context, the outlet asked Reams for his interpretation of the post. He said he thought it just seemed like a kid excited to go to a firing range. When he learned about the school district's response, he expressed disbelief.
"This is exactly the mechanics of the Red Flag Law," Reams told the outlet. "Someone filed an anonymous complaint, without the other person knowing it was being filed, but instead of him being deprived of his Second Amendment rights, he’s being deprived of his ability to go to school without due process."
The teen simply "exercised his First Amendment right to use his Second Amendment right," said Reams, adding, "I hope this doesn’t make him fear that in the future."