Just when you think public schools have gone as far as they can go when it comes to imposing Progressive values (especially anti-gun values) on the young minds in their classrooms, another story pops up in the news that beats all the others that came before in the stupidity department. This time, a Social Studies teacher at El Camino Real Charter High School, in Woodland Hills, California, started making inquiries into a student’s mental health when the student showed a digital photo of a bb gun to a friend.  The teacher, however, picked the wrong student to try to shame. The student’s father, it turns out, is actor Joseph C. Phillips, who made a name as Lt. Martin Kendal on the Cosby show and is now a frequent fill-in host for Larry Elder’s radio show. Phillips has values and he’s not afraid to use them. This ridiculous story began when Phillips’ son used money he had earned to buy himself an Airsoft bb gun, the joy of suburban boys throughout America. Proud of his purchase, Phillips’ son took a digital photo of his bb gun, and then brought his camera to school so he could show a friend. James DeLarme, a social studies teacher, walked by, saw the camera, and like a brown shirt thug “snatched” it right out of the young man’s hands.  As Phillips told Tony Katz on the latter’s radio show, after his son told the teacher that the photo was of his bb gun, DeLarme announced that this was a police matter, and took the camera with him to consult with another teacher. The two teachers scrolled through all of the pictures on the camera (and we don’t even want to think about the invasion of privacy aspect to this story), and then finally returned the camera to the young man. DeLarme wasn’t done, though. DeLarme allegedly said the police would have to be notified. In a loud voice, in front of the entire classroom, DeLarme asked Phillips’ son: “Do you have any animosity towards your classmates?” and “Are you angry at anyone at school?” In other words, “Are you an insane psychopath?”  Despite DeLarme’s statement that the picture on the camera was a police matter, he didn’t contact the police. Indeed, the school never even notified Phillips about what had happened. He only learned about the incident because his son told him about it a few days after it happened. Phillips was livid. As he told Tony Katz during the radio interview:
…I’m not sure he’s qualified to teach social studies. He certainly isn’t qualified to psychoanalyze my kid. Looking through the photographs…what are they looking for? What are they qualified to determine by any other images on this camera? Tony, it is ridiculous. 
Phillips eventually wrote a letter to the school principal explaining precisely what DeLarme, who turns out to be a vocal anti-gun activist, had done wrong: It may come as a shock to Mr. DeLarme, It may even be news to you, but my son is not the only boy in Woodland Hills with a BB gun. There are quite a few boys attending your school who not only own BB guns, but own real guns as well. (Some of them play air soft with my son!) Their fathers, mothers, and brothers also own guns and shoot regularly. Owning a gun is NOT a sign of mental illness. Owning a BB gun is NOT an indication of mental instability! Certainly, showing friends a photograph of a gun is NOT a warning sign that a student is a potential danger to his classmates! I object, in the strongest of terms, to my son being treated as a potential danger and to his being threatened with law enforcement. I further object to not being notified! If Mr. DeLarme truly believed my son presented a danger, both my wife and I should have been notified immediately!  According to show host Tony Katz, DeLarme has been very outspoken about his support of gun control since the Newtown school shooting.  This school’s response to this letter was an eye-opener. First, the principal couldn’t be bothered to answer the letter himself, delegating the task instead to the vice principal. Second, rather than apologizing for violating the privacy of Phillips’ son and for humiliating him in front of his classmates, the vice principal offered the school’s total defense to its employee’s conduct, telling Phillips that DeLarme had acted appropriately to “secure the safety of the 3,000 students and the 250 faculty members at the school.” Huh? If by any stretch of the imagination a photograph of a bb gun constituted a clear and present danger to the students and faculty on the campus, DeLarme should have called the police.  Since the Sandy Hook shooting, a number of schools across the country have taken steps they say are intended to keep their students safe. But after several recent incidents, some wonder if public educators have lost all common sense. If the school genuinely believed that Phillips’ son was unstable, it should have done what Phillips’ suggested in his letter: contact the boy’s parents. There is no scenario that justifies snatching a young person’s camera, paging through its contents, and then humiliating the kid (especially one who might be a — ahem — “dangerous” kid) in front of all his classmates. Phillips, when talking to Katz, had the appropriate last word on what happened at his son’s school:
You see, Tony, and this is the reason I called you… I know there is sensitivity now about children coming into the school, shooting up their classmates. I get that. But at a certain point, people have to stand up and say “Enough with the hysteria! Enough is enough!” We are not going to sacrifice the dignity of our children, our own dignity… What they (the school) did is not keeping anyone safe. 
Phillips isn’t kidding about the hysteria. In the past months since Sandy Hook, American public schools have:
- Suspended students for disarming someone who actually had a gun and was going to use it.
- Suspended a 10-year-old for waving around a half-chewed pizza that was sort of shaped like a gun.
- Punished a second-grader for trying to turn a gooey strawberry tart into a sculpture of a mountain, only to have it end up looking like a gun.
- Suspended an imaginative kid who deal with his childish fears by throwing an imaginary grenade at pretend bad guys in a box.