In New Jersey, even doing research on gun rights is enough to get a high school student suspended and send social services calling at his home.
This story from nj.com says Frank Harvey, a senior at Manville High School, was instructed by a teacher last year to create a video argument against gun control for a junior college readiness class next year. Harvey produced a video that provided examples of people using firearms to defend themselves from home invaders, the story says.
His video also displayed anti-gun-control political cartoons.
Harvey accidentally left his thumb drive containing the project in a computer in the school library. The story says it was found and turned over to the school administration, who then contacted police, presumably after reviewing its contents.
Manville police cleared Harvey of any wrongdoing or suspicions, but that wasn’t enough for the school district.
District officials still elected to suspend Harvey and rule that he would have to undergo a five-hour psychological evaluation before being allowed back in school, because the teacher said she couldn’t recall giving him the assignment.
The story says Harvey’s mother Mary Vervan, refused the evaluation and that her son has been withdrawn from school and is pursuing a GED instead, but that wasn’t the end of his story.
In this later story from nj.com, Vervan says the state department of child services stopped by her home Wednesdaymorning to speak with her son, in what she is calling a retaliatory act by the school district.
“They came to my home trying to talk to my son,” Vervan said in the story. “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.
“This is harassment,” she continued in the story. “I want them to leave us alone. My son is at home studying for his GED. 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 lie. I’m not going to let them label him. I’m not going to roll over. My son and his welfare comes first.”
The story said an official at Somerset Child Services wasn’t available for comment, and that Manville school superintendent Anne Facendo was unavailable for comment.
Vervan said her son got an A on the assignment.
“Now the teacher is denying she gave the assignment or approved the topic,” she said. “The Manville police cleared my son. They looked at his presentation and found nothing wrong. Other students did a similar presentation and nothing happened to them. My son got in trouble because he left his thumb drive.”
The story says Harvey returned his books to the school on Tuesday and was given a withdrawal form, the story says. Vergan says she hasn’t been allowed to speak with the teacher.
“I’m trying to hire a lawyer now, especially since they’ve started to harass us,” she said. “My son has done nothing wrong. I have no clue why they’re doing this.”
The New Jersey Second Amendment Society created this post yesterday, asking the public to contact Superintendent Facendo and ask her to apologize to Harvey and right the situation, in a “respectful and courteous” way via phone or email, and then posted her contact information.
This isn’t the first time a Garden State student has faced persecution for supporting the Second Amendment. We reported in June that Joshua Bruner, 15, from Ringoes, New Jersey whose assignment for a photography class depicting him holding a shotgun in a field with the American Flag in tribute to the famous photo of Marines at Iwo Jima, was rejected. It was later graded, but not permitted to be displayed online with other students’ photos.