No matter how you feel about gun control, this case is disturbing: A high school student who made an anti-gun-control video for class has been ordered to undergo a 5-hour psychiatric evaluation.
Frank Harvey, a senior at Manville High School in New Jersey, says he did the project for a college readiness class last year. As he ssbnadskkb
told New Jersey News 12, “It was assigned by the teacher.” The teacher now says she cannot recall assigning it.
His video featured news stories of people who had used guns to fend off home invasions, and some political cartoons that lampooned gun control. Frankly, it sounds pretty standard for a school project: Make a persuasive video about a controversial topic.
But when it was found on a thumb drive he left in the school library, the school summoned the police, who questioned Harvey and declined to arrest him. Yay.
His mother added, “I am not taking him for a psychological evaluation because this teacher is lying and won’t own up to what she did.”
Instead, Harvey will take his GED.
Let’s hope he doesn’t have to study anything about freedom of speech. Because he’ll be sorely confused.
But when it was found on a thumb drive he left in the school library…
Where I work, we have a department charged with making sure employees learn not to click links in suspicious emails. That department sends out phishing emails as bait and when someone falls for it, they use that as a way to educate about how to identify a phishing email. Another thing they do is to leave a thumb drive on the floor or out in the parking lot to see who is stupid enough to pick it up and insert it into a company computer.
This school could use some training about the dangers of inserting unknown thumb drives. The students ought to learn how to leave booby-traps on thumb drives, now that we know the school staff is both stupid and careless.
There are a lot of holes in this story. Wouldn’t it be quite easy to prove that this was a school assignment – look at the syllabus, talk to other students in the class about their projects, etc? Why does the school play the contents of a flash drive instead of trying to locate the owner? Why is calling the police the second thing they do, after looking at what’s on the drive?
I’m guessing there wouldn’t be any issue if it had been pro-gun control.
Kudos to the police for handling it appropriately.
I just saw the linked article within the original, and it says this:
“The assignment last April was for students to come up with an election topic that would provoke discussion in the class, said Frank Harvey.
Harvey, then a junior at Manville High School, decided to pick the topic of anti-gun control, he said. He put together an impressive video presentation that earned him an “A” on the project, he said.” So this was last April, and the teacher has completely forgotten the assignment, the presentation, and the grade. And apparently has no records in which to find this information.
The entire USA appears to be gun-crazy, yet a high school junior with a pro-gun project is deemed to need psychiatric evaluation. We are, for sure, a country gone insane.
As someone majoring in public policy at a university, this utterly disgusts me. I personally believe in gun control and it still utterly disgusts me. When a teacher assigns something like this, they DO NOT let their personal opinions get in the way. They certainly do not suspend a student and order a psych evaluation if they want to come back. Even though it was someone who found this students’ flash drive and not the teacher who ordered the suspension, it shows that at this school a different opinion is considered dangerous. This was NOT the student declaring he wished to shoot up the school: this was a student making a video on a controversial topic and stating a case thousands of people state every day.
When you are a public policy or political science student, you are explicitly told to understand the arguments of your opposition. This is necessary in college, in career, and in life. How is this ever going to happen if people with different opinions are punished and/or ordered to have psychological evaluations?
Wow. If all if that went down as said, that is serious overstepping of the school. I can imagine great student-made videos on both sides that wouldn’t cause problems. Unless there was something truly disturbing in that video, this is nuts.
“Why does the school play the contents of a flash drive instead of trying to locate the owner?”
Very few flash drives have information about the owner on the outside. This leaves opening the flash drive and examining the contents as the best method of determining ownership.
You know, the way if you find a folded-up wallet lying on the ground, you might try opening it to see if there’s an ID card in it, and if there isn’t an ID card, but there is a folded up piece of paper with a phone number on it, you might try calling the number to ask if they know anyone who’s lost a wallet recently.
” Why is calling the police the second thing they do, after looking at whatâ€™s on the drive?”
Because if the contents consist of something that seems threatening, you call the people in charge of protecting people from threats.
“Frank Harvey, a senior at Manville High School in New Jersey, says he did the project for a college readiness class last year. As he told New Jersey News 12, â€œIt was assigned by the teacher.â€ The teacher now says she cannot recall assigning it.”
If it’s from last year, it should have already been presented to the class. Even if the teacher doesn’t remember it, does nobody else in the class have a functioning memory?
Many, many years ago, a man was riding his camel into Baghdad for the weekly sook, or market.
As he rode along, he noticed a cloth sack along the side of the road, partially hidden from view. He dismounted, approached the sack, removed his sandal, and prodded it with his big toe. He could tell from the feel that the sack was full of salt, then a valuable commodity. A merchant must have lost it on his way into the city!
He continued on his journey, and told a guard at the city gates about the sack. The “sergeant-of-the-guard” was summoned, and the man repeated his story to him.
The sergeant dispatched two men to retrieve the sack, then ordered two other guards to take the traveler inside the gates and chop off his big toe with a sword.
“Why should I be punished like this?”, the man cried out. “I came straight here to report finding the sack!”
“You came here to report finding a sack filled with salt.”, replied the sergeant. What would you have done if you had prodded it and found it to be filled with gold?”
More on topic, I’m curious why an apparently college-bound student is now willing to just get a G.E.D. rather than undergo a psych eval. If he’s really the only person with a memory of the assignment…
The school’s administration needs to be reminded of the 1st Amendment. Frank’s project did not cross the line into hate speech or actually inciting violence, so it’s protected. I’m guessing the ACLU would be happy to take this one.
Back in my high school days, we had this thing called debate team, where you actually HAD to argue whichever side of an issue you were assigned, and make as powerful an argument as you could. I’m guessing they don’t do that activity any more …
“we had this thing called debate team, where you actually HAD to argue whichever side of an issue you were assigned”
Issues have only one side now, because this is an enlightened era.
Oh no Lenora watch out for the hate mail from anti-2nd Amendment nutjobs. Those people scare me and I usually feel better after hiding in my safespace for a few hours.
“Iâ€™m curious why an apparently college-bound student is now willing to just get a G.E.D.”
Because his school told him he couldn’t go there any more, and because he can finish high school six months early, and begin college (where, presumably, he’ll be welcomed, anti-gun-control videos and all.
“The schoolâ€™s administration needs to be reminded of the 1st Amendment. Frankâ€™s project did not cross the line into hate speech or actually inciting violence, so itâ€™s protected.”
You’re operating under a mistaken view of student rights in a public school environment. Specifically, you’re assuming that they still have them, when actual court opinions find that students’ rights are often subservient to the school’s need to maintain calm and order.
This kid needs to homeschool this year, get his mom to give him a High School Diploma, and go on to college. In fact, he could take college classes at his local community college, and count them as high school credit for his senior year. No need to do the GED. Get his transcript from the school to date, and keep on learning. If he doesn’t want to go to college, but instead learn a trade, he should consider something like Job Corp that will do the GED and get him training in a trade.
“Oh no Lenora watch out for the hate mail from anti-2nd Amendment nutjobs.”
The nutjobs generating hate mail from EITHER SIDE of a 2nd Amendment argument are plenty scary.
I draw fire from both sides, because I believe (fairly strongly) in private firearm ownership, and at the same time, I believe (fairly strongly) that access to firearms should be limited somewhat more sharply than at present for people who cannot or will not handle them safely and responsibly. If I had a nickel for every time someone directed a message at me about how Obama (or, occasionally, Pelosi, and presumably soon, Hillary) and the army of “gun-grabbers” would soon be confiscating all the guns, I’d be a very wealthy man.
I guess I should be worried as earlier this year my high schooler wrote an anti-gun control essay on an assignment on freedom.
Right CrazyCatLady. And if homeschooling isn’t a good option for them for whatever reason, I think every state now has access to cyber charter schooling — totally free, doesn’t require full time supervision from the parent, and is 100% equivalent to a brick and mortar diploma. Legally it’s public school in another form.
“Doesn’t recall assigning it”? How about looking at the lesson plans?! If she doesn’t have as much written down as to indicate that she’s assigned a persuasive project, or the grades recorded for it, she should be sacked for pure incompetency.
The teacher forgot the assignment? Perhaps she needs this evaluation for early signs of dementia, not the student. The administration should have dropped this when the police cleared him.
As for controversial assignments, my middle school daughter had to create a political ad for the upcoming election (she declined my suggestion to cut out the T and P off of an existing sign to vote for RUM 2016).
She had to watch the presidential debate and come up with both candidates and their stance on an issue. Thank heavens she didn’t pick gun control! I watched the debate with her, to translate…birther, stamina, what exactly is a winning temperament and why do we need to call Sean Hannity? What’s *the cyber* and a very against police judge? So many questions to answer and not a lot of information for her assignment, sadly.
“‘Doesnâ€™t recall assigning it’? How about looking at the lesson plans?”
Why would a lesson plan include information on what topic was assigned to what student, and why would anyone save this information after they weren’t your students any more?
I taught at the college level, not high school, but once grades became final, I destroyed the gradebooks (actually Excel sheets) and the graded materials because of confidentiality law that applies to students’ educational records.
“The teacher forgot the assignment? Perhaps she needs this evaluation for early signs of dementia”
If this school is anything like the local big suburban high school, then there are between 30 and 50 students per class, and 6 or 7 classes per day. Not being able to recall what one student’s topic was, last year, out of the couple hundred students? That’s not dementia.
There is more than enough arguing between the different sides on gun control, where each won’t talk to one other.
I have family members that are responsible gun owners and relatives that were life-long friends with a victim of one of the most high profile gun incidents.
I have friends that leave out the “well-regulated” part of the 2nd amendment but haven’t met anyone calling for confiscation of weapons.
Rather than call a subject as PC, I prefer to think of it as people tend to have selective outrage against views different than their own.
School debate team? Look what passes for discussing the issues by our “adult” politicians.
I’m against guns and pro common sense. I’m appalled that the principal cannot distinguish between news reports / jokes and actual threats! This is a controversial topic that is useful for teaching critical thinking. This child has not issued a threat. It is very concerning that the teacher who graded his assignment will not stand up and corroborate the evidence. Is the principal afraid to look like nothing is being done? Is this just to look competent?
The school had no right to order this student to undergo a 5 hour psych evaluation. His parents should sue the school because of that order.
Would there not have been other students in the course to back up this kid and say there was indeed such a project? Also, teachers must submit a detailed syllabus so the assignment should be there. Finally gradebooks are Keep for up to a year. The gradebook should state “Pro/Con Gun Control Project” or “Debating Controversial Topics.” In any case it is unacceptable and very hard to believe that this teacher doesn’t have any form of evidence about what she taught last year. This claim, “I don’t recall giving that assignment,” is b.s. The teacher may be a liar, she may be horribly unorganized or even have mental issues of her own. She should be evaluated for no reason other than she let a kid drop out and get a GED instead of getting herself repremanded.
Should politicians, on both sides of this issue, be required to have psychiatric evaluations?
As with the “kid suspended for chewing a Pop Tart into a gun” story, I’m guessing there’s a lot more to this than what is here.
Oh no! Now I heard everything. Here us a student who had an assignment and the assignment that the teacher gave was not explicit. So then, since he did it on pro guns, he now get the blunt end of the stick. He was doing his assignment and he chose that topic. I know for a fact that before an assignment is started, the teacher asks the student what he will do the assignment on. As long as the student was upfront with the teacher, then the teacher either gives it OK or pick another assignment. I believe the student is in his last year before graduation and now he is asked for a psych evaluation and if he refuses, he is kicked out of school and forced to take a GED. What do you think the chances for him is to go on to get a good college education and even choose where he wants to go. He is basically being punished for something that his project will be about because he was overstepping his bounds to do a subject about pro guns. The second amendment falls into this. Since there is so much violence with guns, he will be subject to hate propaganda from anti gun people because of his beliefs. Some nut job out there may even threaten him with harm or worse. It’s too bad we have such a mixed up society where you always have to be on guard.
The NRA is looking into this, and while they caution that we’ve only heard Frank Harvey’s story so far while the school is keeping its mouths shut,…
this really looks bad and smells worse. Basically, unless the kid and his mother are lying through their teeth, this is one of the worst violations of the 1st and 2nd Amendments ever committed by a public school, and it will get ugly in a hurry.
“this is one of the worst violations of the 1st and 2nd Amendments ever committed by a public school, and it will get ugly in a hurry.”
First amendment rights of students are subordinate to the school’s need to maintain good order. This student’s second amendment rights have not been interfered with in any way.
He’s solved the problem the appropriate way… he’s removed himself from an untenable situation.
“First amendment rights of students are subordinate to the schoolâ€™s need to maintain good order.”
Just like Dred Scott’s rights were subordinate to the need to harvest the cotton crop?
Not to mention the literally Stalinesque idea of ordering a psychological exam based on political opinions.
I know how this kid feels. I went through the same thing at my former college. I wasn’t even making threatening remarks. Me and the teachers were joking around because I had mentioned a book I wrote with a villain as the main character. The character is a serial killer. I have to do an in depth study, figure out how such a person thinks and put myself in their shoes. And I got kicked out for knowing a bit more than they were comfortable with. I am very much pro-second amendment. This disgusts me. From the sound of it, he didn’t even have anything remotely threatening on the flash drive. The school just didn’t agree with his political opinion. I honestly agree with the kid. The kind of gun control the likes of Hillary and others in her party are pushing is not the kind of gun control that will protect law abiding citizens. The best gun control is if you can’t handle a gun safely, don’t buy one.
Have you ever noticed that schools go out of their way to support their student’s First Amendment rights when it supports the Leftist agenda? They also are pretty quick to use the “maintain order” bit to silence students who do not support it.
Sounds like he’s intelligent and mature enough that a standard high school education will hold him back. Homeschoolling and online courses would be the perfect solution. This could turn out to be the best thing ever foisted upon him. Go Harvey!
“Have you ever noticed that schools go out of their way to support their studentâ€™s First Amendment rights when it supports the Leftist agenda?”
No. Schools are fairly conservative. You can get kicked out of school for just TALKING ABOUT sex. The local school district made the news for firing the gay student teacher, who made the AMAZING mistake of answering “yes” when one of the students asked “are you gay?”
Who’s going to evaluate the psychologist?
Without seeing what this video was, it is hard to say whether it could be construed as threatening. Tha being said, I don’t know that this is a 1st amendment issue, as much as it is a due process one. Requiring a psychological evaluation seems overboard. As for the issue of gun control, I suppose and argument could be made that he was being punished for the content of his speech. If that was the case, the school could only prevail if they could show that his speech was disruptive. I fail to see how this could be disruptive, as no one appeared to have seen it, besides the administration.
Regardless, I hope the NRA sues this school if they find that this kid is telling the truth.
“Regardless, I hope the NRA sues this school if they find that this kid is telling the truth.”
Glad the family is not caving in. But still need to get rid of those administrators. NOW
This is an incident that should have not happened, because the young man chose the “wrong side” of a topic that both Liberals and educators dislike intensely. this is prely punishment for going against the grain in our So Progressive educational system. 5 Hour psyche exam? No way….for what? I am a licensed CCW permit hold and also have and FFL….no psyche exam required….
Gotta wonder where Mr. Pollack lives. The average high school class size, https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_007.asp, in no state in the US nears the numbers he purports to have in his suburban high schools: 30 – 50 students. The average class size in the US is somewhere between 17 and 24. Heck, New York City averages only 25 students in a class, Philadelphia is at 26. According to USNews, Manville is at 11 students per teacher and there 379 kids in the High School.
If my kids were in a typical suburban high school, and I’d have to think that as I’m in the third largest school district in the state that they were, the typical number of classes a day is 4 – each about 90 minutes. It’s called block scheduling and is pretty much the norm nationwide. Weâ€™re also in that 17 â€“ 24 students per class range. 6 â€“ 7 classes a day died eons ago.
He’s also confusing the student’s specific output for the assignment with the teacher’s topical assignment. The teacher definitely should recall the topic assigned. And as the studentâ€™s output was so â€˜controversialâ€™ and he claims he got an â€œA,â€ the teacher would likely recall that as well. This was a few months ago, not a few years ago – he was one of 11 kids the teacher taught in that class.
If it’s just an eval, how do they know it will take 5 hours?
“Gotta wonder where Mr. Pollack lives.”
Hmm. Didn’t I JUST list it, either in this thread or the previous one.
“The average high school class size, https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_007.asp, in no state in the US nears the numbers he purports to have in his suburban high schools: 30 â€“ 50 students.”
Yes, you obviously know more about how many students are in the classes at the high school my daughter attended than I do… I only had a child in the school.
“f my kids were in a typical suburban high school, and Iâ€™d have to think that as Iâ€™m in the third largest school district in the state that they were, the typical number of classes a day is 4 â€“ each about 90 minutes.”
When schools use this scheduling option, the students have different classes on alternating days. They still have, during any trimester, 7 or 8 classes and around 45 minutes per day per class. Teachers have between 6 and 8 full classes per trimester.
“Heâ€™s also confusing the studentâ€™s specific output for the assignment with the teacherâ€™s topical assignment.”
Not even a little bit.
“According to USNews, Manville is at 11 students per teacher and there 379 kids in the High School.”
“he was one of 11 kids the teacher taught in that class.”
In today’s math lesson, we learn that an average of 11 students per teacher does not mean that every class has 11 students in it. Then we go on to remember that a teacher doesn’t just teach one class… they teach (usually) the same class 3, 4, maybe even 6 to 8 times per semester, each time to a different set of kids. There’s no reason to believe that this kid’s presentation was particularly memorable… that’s kind of the point… had he made a MEMORABLE presentation, such as, say, advocating that students should open carry to limit bullying, then the overreaction to it would have happened last year, right after he gave it, instead of this year, when he left it on a flash drive in the library.
The failure here isn’t that the teacher doesn’t remember seeing this video before. The failure here is that the investigation stopped after they asked the teacher about it, instead of asking any of the other people (whether 11 or 30+) who were actually in the class. A poor investigation leads to poor understanding of the facts which leads to poor decision-making.
“â€œGotta wonder where Mr. Pollack lives.â€
Hmm. Didnâ€™t I JUST list it, either in this thread or the previous one.
â€œThe average high school class size, https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_007.asp, in no state in the US nears the numbers he purports to have in his suburban high schools: 30 â€“ 50 students.â€
Further, I live in a state that has three regions, all with SUBSTANTIALLY different high schools. There’s the “big city”, which has falling numbers of students. Most of the state is rural, with class sizes in the double digits. (I don’t mean the number of students in each class, I mean the number of students in each YEAR. There are some schools that have class sizes in the single digits because everybody in their grade is in the class… and that total is single digits. Then there’s the large suburban school nearby. Almost 3000 students, and that one school, alone, accounts for roughly half of the state’s national honor merit scholars. (They had 27 finalists last year, and around a dozen winners. The next best school in the state had two winners.)
The average for the state is pretty meaningless… we have some COUNTIES that have fewer people living in them than attend this school.
For the NRA, likely none, but I am sure you know what I meant and were just trying to be snarky.
For those that don’t know, most “issue” lawsuits that involve large advocacy groups find a plaintiff and cover the legal fees. In other words, the NRA wouldn’t be a named plaintiff, but would pay this kid’s legal fees. This happens all the time.
“For the NRA, likely none, but I am sure you know what I meant and were just trying to be snarky.”
No, you had me confused.
I don’t think the kid wins a lawsuit, even if he doesn’t have to pay the bills. I think he’s right to refuse to accede to the school’s demand, but I don’t think the school is wrong enough to lose in court.
I think he’s made the correct assessment (“If you don’t want me here, then here is not the place I should be”) and I think he’ll be fine once he gets to the college level… although they aren’t completely free of arbitrary and random actions at the university level, they are rarer and more likely to be corrected by logical argument.
Having dealt with universities (and currently involved in a lawsuit against one), they can be as bad, but many of them have their own full time legal departments, so they have easy access to advice.
I have no idea the likelihood of prevailing in a lawsuit because I don’t know the details. If his video is full of threats and “disturbing” content, then some kind of evaluation may be proper. On the other hand, if this decision was more politically motivated, then his chances improve.
That being said, this story seems odd. I used to work as a family therapist and the only mandatory evaluations I saw, were court ordered. In addition, a 5 hour evaluation is a very major evaluation, such as one to determine if someone is competent to stand trial.
This is ridiculous…
Even though I am fully in favour of what most Americans would consider very tight gun control (but is actually slightly looser than what we have here in the UK)
It would appear that the assignment was to make a video on a controversial issue that favoured 1 side…
This doesn’t even mean that the kid in question is actually for or against gun control themselves, just that they were choosing a stance that they knew to be controversial….. Exactly what the assignment required…..
“a 5 hour evaluation is a very major evaluation, such as one to determine if someone is competent to stand trial.”
The one my daughter had to undergo to determine if she could start school a year early was nearly that long.
First of all, can a school make that order? Especially if there are no grounds, other than personal opinions? After all, the cops saw fit not to charge the kid for anything. They were probably laughing at the school for making such an ignorant fuss.
Second, with all the idiot school teachers and admins we hear about, wouldn’t it be prudent for THESE people to get a psyche evaluation before being hired?
If they can’t do it for themselves, they shouldn’t ask it of others.
“First of all, can a school make that order?”
Sure they can.
Judging by the argument that follows the quoted text, you think it is significant that that the police did not file charges. But… schools impose discipline for all kinds of things that do not result in criminal charges.
As a general rule, police prefer to leave matters to the schools, except for the most serious of cases. Schools routinely adjudicate many matters that could be, but are not handled as, issues of criminal law. Fistfights, for example.
The one my daughter had to undergo to determine if she could start school a year early was nearly that long.
Do you live in California? My child started early and all that was required was a meeting with the school administrators.
Different scope of questions. Most evaluations of that type involve several tests to determine intelligence or achievement and take longer to administer. An evaluation to determine if someone is dangerous or suicidal does not usually involve actual tests, but could if the evaluator feels it is necessary.
I did dozens of court ordered evaluations of children who had been arrested for some serious crimes, including violent felonies. I never needed to do a five hour evaluation.
First of all, can a school make that order? Especially if there are no grounds, other than personal opinions?
I am sure that state law gives them the ability to do so if there are safety concerns. Due process still applies. As for grounds, have you seen the video?
“If itâ€™s just an eval, how do they know it will take 5 hours?”
Maybe when told he had to go for an eval, someone asked, “And how long will that take?”