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Student Faces Expulsion After Saying a Math Symbol Looks Like a Gun

Students at the Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., caused an uproar when they spread rumors about a boy who had joked about a square root symbol looking like a gun. A joke quickly became a tall tale that claimed this boy had planned to attack the school with guns and bombs. The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office responded to a call from KPLC, saying they had received an anonymous tip claiming there was going to be a major shooting involving the jokester.

The Lexington Herald-Leader spread the panic further, reporting that a student's house was searched over a math problem. 

A discussion among students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., about a mathematical symbol led to a police investigation and a search of one of the student’s homes,  according to the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.

Students in the group began commenting that the symbol, which represents a number that when multiplied by itself equals another number, looked like a gun.

After several students made comments along those lines, another student said something the sheriff’s office said could have sounded like a threat out of context.

Police searched the student’s home, where they found no guns or any evidence that he had any access to guns. Authorities also wrote there was no evidence the student had any intent to commit harm.

Except that's not what Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert told PJM.