According to the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, detectives began investigating
terrorism threats at Oberlin High School after a student completed a math
problem that required the square root sign to be drawn. When other students
began commenting that the math symbol looked like a gun and a poorly judged quip
was made between students, an investigation was quickly launched. A rumor that
the student was planning to carry out a mass shooting at the school also
Deputies also said they searched the teenager's home after hearing that the unidentified teenager was planning to bring in a gun to school. The detectives found no evidence that the student owned or had any access to a firearm, KATC reported. In addition, there was no evidence that the student had any intentions of harming anyone.
"He committed no crime. He was the victim of the ol' morphing of information [phenomenon]," explained Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert.
"He did not commit a crime. He did not commit anything remotely criminal, nothing to remotely suggest any intent to do actual harm," Hebert reiterated.
According to Allen Parish School District Superintendent Michael Doucet, the incident was caused by a misunderstood wisecrack between students.
"The students were working together, and a student made a math symbol of a square root sign, which kind of looks like a pistol. 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," said Superintendent Doucet.
Following the incident, the school policy set new, stricter guidelines: Any student that is accused of discussing guns or school shootings will be investigated by three separate groups: the school board, the sheriff's department and the district attorney's office.