Students call police over math symbol that ‘looks like a pistol’

After last week’s tragic shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school, tensions are high in classrooms across America.

A student at Oberlin High School in Louisiana was investigated and searched by police on Tuesday due to a conversation that arose when he and his classmates noted that the square root mathematical symbol resembles a gun, the Miami Herald reports.

Allen Parish School Board. (Photo: Screen Capture).

According to the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed student made a remark that may have sounded like a threat when taken out of context.

“The students were working together, and a student made a math symbol of a square root sign, which kind of looks like a pistol,” Allen Parish School District Superintendent Michael Doucet told KATC.

The square root symbol with a variable “x.”

“And he was helping a weaker student, and the student says, ‘Well, that looks like a pistol!’ And he just made a comment [like] ‘let’s just get to work before I shoot you with a pistol.'”

Police visited the student’s home, but ultimately determined there was no evidence he had access to guns.

“He committed no crime,” said Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert. “He was the victim of the ole morphing of information.”

Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert. (Photo: Screen Capture).

Gossip by fellow students the original comments into a rumor that the teenager planned to shoot up the school.

“He did not commit a crime,” Sheriff Herbert repeated. “He did not commit anything remotely criminal, nothing to remotely suggest any intent to do actual harm.”

Superintendent Doucet told KATC that the student is banned from campus while he awaits an expulsion hearing to decide whether he can keep attending the high school.

“Does it concern me sometimes? Sure it does!” Doucet said. “But if you lost a child and didn’t take an incident seriously because you thought it was minor and something did happen, that parent that lost that child would be hard to explain.”

Allen Parish School District Superintendent Michael Doucet. (Photo: Screen Capture).

The Superintendent also outlined a new protocol for addressing potential shooting threats.

“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.”


The incident occurred a week after 14 students and 3 faculty members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

(Photo: Screen Capture).

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is a former student expelled from the school whose troubling behavior was widely known fellow students and teachers.


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