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Police Called After Students Said the Square Root Symbol Looked Like a Gun


Police in Oberlin, Louisiana were called after some high school students thought the mathematical symbol for square root looked like a gun.

The symbol apparently led to a discussion among students, which led to a comment, which lead to a misunderstanding, which led to a police call.

Because of the square root symbol.

From the Miami Herald:

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.

The report added that "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."

Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert told PJ Media, however, that all his deputies did was knock on the kid's door.

"The whole notion that there was a SWAT raid over a math symbol is absurd," Hebert told PJM. "I got a call from a KPLC that they had a serious threat of a shooting at the school, so we went to the house to verify. There was no search warrant, we just sent two [deputies] to knock on the door. This is a small parish and everybody knows everybody and we found out very quickly there was no crime and no threat."

According to PJ Media, however, the student in question could end up facing disciplinary action by the school itself, up to and including expulsion.

Just…..oh Lord, help us.


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