MANVILLE, N.J. – Manville High School senior Frank Harvey school officials are driving him out over an anti-gun control class presentation he received an “A” on last year.
Harvey was suspended Tuesday and ordered to undergo a five-hour psychological exam before he can return after he left a thumb drive in the school library that contained an anti-gun control presentation he gave as an assignment in April, NJ.com reports.
Someone found the thumb drive and turned it over to school officials, who then called police to interrogate the student.
“I’ve never been a violent person,” Harvey told News 12. “I’ve never had detention in my life.”
The soft spoken senior told the news site he was tasked with presenting the anti-gun control point of view for his College and Career Readiness class, but his teacher from that class now contends she doesn’t recall the assignment.
“She said my project would be perfectly fine,” said Harvey, “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.”
Police discussed the assignment with Harvey and concluded he did nothing wrong and declined to take action. But Harvey, and his mother Mary Vervan, said school officials refused to drop the issue and demanded that the student undergo a psychological exam before he can finish his senior year, News reports.
“I’m not taking him for a psychological evaluation because this teacher is lying and won’t own up to what she did,” Vervan said.
Harvey’s assignment, which was posted on the NJ.com website, contains no threatening materials and simply argues the anti-gun control perspective that laws that restrict gun ownership are not typically recognized by criminals.
“ …(W)e can establish that because criminals do not follow laws they therefore would be able to obtain a gun even if laws were established to prevent law abiding citizens from obtaining guns,” according to Harvey’s presentation, which referenced a murder committed by a man using an black market, unregistered firearm.
“Preventing law abiding citizens from obtaining guns only makes this man’s ‘job’ easier as the law abiding citizens are now unable to protect themselves from criminals who obtain guns illegally anyway.”
Harvey’s presentation also referenced a 2013 incident in Texas in which a homeowner shot three home invaders to defend his family.
“So, who is the insane one here?” the presentation questions. “The law abiding citizen who owns a gun to protect himself and his family, or the liberal who wishes to take that right away?”
It concluded with several hilarious anti-gun control cartoons.
“I’m disappointed that this has become an issue,” said the soft-spoken Harvey. “I’m not a violent person. I’ve never been in trouble in my life. I’m surprised my project is being considered such a horrible thing. Everyone I’ve spoken to feels the same way. They see my point entirely. I cleared the topic with the teacher.
“There were other students who did presentations for and against gun control. To my knowledge, none of them got suspended or got kicked out of school.”
Harvey contends that when he went to turn in his books on Tuesday, school officials gave him a withdrawal form to sign but refused to meet with the family to discuss the presentation.
The next morning, Vervan contends the district sent Somerset Child Services official Ebony Williams to the family’s home in retaliation for speaking out about her son’s treatment.
School officials, meanwhile, claim the family is lying to the public about what happened, but assert they can’t discuss specifics because of federal privacy laws, NJ.com reports.
“We believe the student’s family is aware of this, and are taking advantage of those laws to publicize a blatantly false, one-sided account of what occurred,” Manville superintendent Anne Facendo said in a statement.
Nonetheless, Vervan said she’s looking for a lawyer and is considering a lawsuit against the district while her son pursues his GED online, with hopes of starting college early in the winter.
“The Manville police cleared my son,” said Vervan, adding that she wants the district to formally apologize to her son and remove all references to the incident from his school record. “They looked at his presentation and found nothing wrong.”
“If the police doesn’t think there was a problem, why is the school taking these extreme actions and harassing us with child services?” said Vervan. “I don’t understand why they’re doing this.”