CENTENNIAL, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- A Colorado high school student posted a picture with her brother, who served in combat overseas in the US Army, to the photo-sharing app Snapchat and was then suspended from school.
Photos shared by users on Snapchat are only supposed to last 24 hours, but the straight-A student would find out that on the internet, any picture can come back to haunt you.
The photo in question showed the student holding a Glock handgun and her brother who served in special operations holding a Palmetto State Armory PA-15 modern sporting rifle while flipping off the camera. The family was getting ready to go to the range. The teen is an avid shooter who shares her love of guns with the rest of the family and often goes to the range as a family.
The caption on the shared photo reads: “Me and my legal guardian are going to the gun range to practice gun safety and responsible gun ownership while getting better so we can protect ourselves while also using the first amendment to practice our second amendment.”
Officials at the senior’s high school saw the photo, and it set off a chain of events that would shock her family. The Endeavor Academy, which is part of the Cherry Creek School District, decided to suspend Keyes for five days.
The caption didn't convey a threat. In fact, it talked about responsible gun ownership and self-protection. Keyes' mother, Kelley Moyer, told AmmoLand that her daughter didn't think she did anything wrong. Her mother can't understand the school's decision to suspend her child.
The school notified Moyer of her daughter’s suspension via a generic email. The email didn't give an exact reason for the suspension but stated the school could suspend students for behavior on or off school property that is detrimental to the welfare, safety, or morals of other students and faculty.
The email also threatened Keyes with arrest for trespassing if she stepped foot onto school property during the time frame of her suspension. Moyer believes that the school is treating the honor student that dreams of working in the medical field as a criminal. She worries that this suspension will threaten her applications to colleges.
Moyer met with school officials to find out what the exact policy was that her daughter that got her suspended from school. The Endeavor Academy verified that there wasn't an exact rule that she broke, but they chose to suspend Keyes because she was photographed with an “assault rifle.”
According to Moyer, the school told her, “When we see a picture of a 17-year-old holding an assault rifle, it sends panic through our building.”
Moyer tried to explain to the school that there was not an assault rifle in the picture. She also tried to explain to the school that her daughter wasn't even holding the rifle. It was her son who served in the army holding the rifle, but she didn't see why that would make a difference since there wasn’t a threat made by her daughter.
She asked why the school had an issue with the guns in the picture. The officials declined to explain their thinking. They did say that several parents kept their kids out of school because of the scare that the school officials started over the picture.
The Cherry Creek School District supports the Colorado Safe-2-Tell anonymous snitching program where unknown individuals can file false claims against anyone they want to harass with no penalty.
Local law enforcement investigated and found that there was not a threat made by Keyes and that the teen didn't break any laws. Law enforcement considers the case closed. According to the police, the situation is now just a school’s administrative issue.
Keyes is also a student-athlete. She played on the school’s varsity volleyball team. The suspension forced her to miss the team's championship game. The hardships do not stop there for the high school student taking college-level classes.
There was the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia in the picture. The confederate flag flown in the background has drawn the ire of some of the other students at the Endeavor Academy who view the flag as offensive. These students now refer to Keyes as a racist and have levied death threats against the student-athlete.
“She is receiving death threats,” Moyer told AmmoLand. “They are saying the only thing we can do about it is get restraining orders.”
Moyer sees this as an attack on the Second Amendment. She told AmmoLand she feels this is a demonization of guns because her daughter has never threatened anyone.
“This is like a red flag law,” she said. “They assumed she was dangerous because of a picture of her with a gun before going to the range. It just isn’t right.”
The Endeavor Academy said the social media post “concerned the school community” but would not elaborate on why the picture justified the suspension.
The AmmoLand team read through all 92 pages of the Cherry Creek School District's discipline policy and could not find a policy that Keyes violated.
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC, and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast, which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement, including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people from all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or www.crumpy.com.