New Haven

High school senior suspended after posting picture of airsoft gun on social media

A high school student was suspended and arrested after posting an image of a toy gun on social media.

Zach Cassidento, a high school senior at Amity Regional High School was suspended and arrested as a juvenile after he posted a picture of a toy gun, or what's called an "airsoft gun," on Snapchat.

Zach said, "I didn't want to put any words and someone misinterpret it as a threat so I figured I posted this picture on my own time, on my property."

The words "have a nice day" with a happy face is part of the gun's design. The senior told News 8 his hobby is playing with toy guns and he thought posting the picture was harmless.

Zach added, "I took a picture. It was about half way up the barrel of the gun. It showed the trigger. It showed the magazine. And it cut off just by the stock. It also showed the chamber open with no bullet in there and the warning sticker stating that it is a toy gun."

The image and words were unsettling to a student who brought the picture to the attention of school officials. Zach was taken out of class.

He added, "They took my phone and my backpack and pulled me into the office, out into the hallway where the officer told me to put my hands out and he checked me."

His mom, GraceAnne Cassidento, said her son was treated like a criminal.

She told News 8, "He was arrested because he posted a picture of what he got for his birthday which is an airsoft gun. If he would have gotten a skate board he would have taken a picture of a skate board."

She said the high school handled it wrong. Cassidento added, "They searched my son at school. They didn't call me. they didn't tell me what was going on. They did not call me until he's already been arrested, searched, brought to the office, harassed. Then they called me because I had to meet them at my home to have five officers come into my home and search my house."

Amity Regional High School suspended Zach for one day for what they call "disrupting the educational process." News 8 reached out to the school superintendent but the calls weren't returned.


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