The Washington Post

Teen says he was suspended and detained for joking about killing a pet dinosaur

The dinosaur pictured is not necessarily the one imagined in this story. (Mark Klingler/Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

Alex Stone, a high school student in Summerville, S.C., says he was suspended on the first day of school and detained by police for a joke.

That joke? A series of mock Facebook statuses for a class assignment in which he made up a story about buying a gun to kill a dinosaur.

Stone’s mother had a beautiful reaction to what the family believes is an overreach by authorities. “I mean, first of all, we don’t have dinosaurs anymore,” Karen Gray told CBS affiliate WCSC. “Second of all, he’s not even old enough to buy a gun.”

Stone told WCSC that the class work in question included a fictional scene in which, he said, “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.”

After his teacher reported the fictional scenes to school administrators, things escalated.

Police have a different take on the incident, focusing on the last part of Stone’s fake status, where the teenager says he “bought a gun” to “take care of business.” Authorities told The Post and Courier that officers entered Summerville High School to search Stone’s belongings after the student explained to administrators that the assignment was “just a joke.”

In an earlier report on the incident, district officials told WCIV that a student wrote about bringing a gun to school, for which he was taken into custody.

He was detained for disorderly conduct, based on what police describe as his “irate” demeanor during the search. Stone’s mother told WCSC that her son was suspended from school for the rest of the week.

Police did not find a gun during their search.

No word on the condition, existence or species of the dinosaur.

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.