Is questioning the effectiveness of gun control a symptom of psychological problems?
If you dare to contradict your state’s anti-gun, anti-self-defense liberal orthodoxy, should you be interrogated by police?
And if you express a political viewpoint at odds with the powers that be at your public school, should you be kicked out of school—and have social workers sent to bang on your door?
Seventeen-year-old Frank Harvey of Manville, N.J., is finding himself at the center of all of these questions.
Last week, Harvey was suspended from school after he left a flash drive in a school computer that contained a video he’d made arguing that armed citizens can stop crimes and save lives.
On Monday, someone reportedly found Harvey’s flash drive, alerted the authorities, and started the wheels of the state roaring into action.
On Tuesday, Manville High School suspended Harvey and sent him home. Police questioned him about the video, but decided he’d done nothing wrong.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday, social workers from Somerset County Child Services went banging on Frank’s door, and authorities now say they won’t let him finish his senior year at the high school until he completes a five-hour psychological evaluation
“I've never been a violent person. I've never had detention in my life,” Frank told NewJersey.News12.com. “I've never been in trouble in my life.”
You can see the video here for yourself. In it, Harvey cites instances in which armed, lawful citizens stopped criminal attacks in their own homes, and shows a political cartoon that ridicules the naivety and idealism of liberals who cling to “Gun-Free Zones” as a defense against armed attack. “… I'm allowed to do my school work as long as it agrees with their point of view on an issue.” — Frank Harvey
Harvey says he made the video after having the topic approved by Rachel Gottfried, the teacher of his College and Career Readiness class, last year. What’s more, he said, he received an “A” grade for the project.
“She said my project would be perfectly fine,” Harvey said. “I presented the video to the class and took a few questions from my classmates. My presentation went over well. The whole idea of the assignment was to expose students to an idea they hadn't considered before.”
But now, the teacher says she doesn’t remember approving the assignment.
Frank Harvey’s mother, Mary Vervan, said: “They came to my home trying to talk to my son. I was at work. I told my son they have no right to talk to him. He refused to speak with them and they left. I'm not sure why they came. The school likely sent them out because they didn't like how things have come out in the media.”
For their part, the authorities at the school appear to be both backpedaling and doubling down.
On one hand, the school superintendent, Anne Facendo, said, “The school district is not at liberty to make comment on any issue pertaining to confidential student information.”
But on the other hand, Facendo has attacked the motives and statements of Frank and his mother surrounding the school’s absurd over-reaction.
In a statement, Facendo said:
"We believe the student's family is aware of [the student privacy laws], and are taking advantage of those laws to publicize a blatantly false, one-sided account of what occurred. Under their version of events, the student was given a disciplinary suspension for merely completing a school project assigned by his teacher that expressed an unpopular viewpoint, then was required to disenroll from the district.”
Then, without saying what did happen to justify kicking Harvey out of school, siccing the cops onto him and dispatching social workers to his home, Facendo wrote, “These claims are false, and we are confident that the evidence will support the district's position ... We have nothing more to say on the matter at this time, but could not let the family's vicious personal attacks go unanswered.”
As Frank said, “What the response of the school tells me is that I'm allowed to do my school work as long as it agrees with their point of view on an issue.”
But he isn’t backing down. He’s decided to withdraw from the school and get his diploma on his own.
And it sounds like his mother is behind him 100 percent.
“This is harassment. I want them to leave us alone. My son is at home studying for his GED,” Mary Vervan said. “There's no reason for this. They're just harassing us. I'm not going to have my son undergo a psychological exam based on a teacher's lies. I'm not going to let them label him. I'm not going to roll over. My son and his welfare comes first.”
As for Frank Harvey, it appears he’s taking the dustup with the sort of soft-spoken, gentlemanly aplomb uncommon for a 17-year-old. “I'm surprised my project is being considered such a horrible thing,” he said, “Everyone I've spoken to feels the same way. They see my point entirely.”
Considering that this year’s presidential election is a matchup between disconnected elites who push statist, authoritarian notions of gun control on one hand, and those who respect the right of lawful people to bear arms in their own defense on the other hand, one can only hope that Harvey turns 18 in time to vote on Election Day, and that millions of like-minded honest people join him at the polls.