LACEY HS JUNIOR SUSPENDED FOR BULLET BELT!
UNWORN FASHION ACCESSORY EARNS 40 DAYS!
by Black Wire Media Sunday Nov. 17th, 2019 www.cnjfo.com/join-us
Neal DeBenedetto is into Heavy Metal music in a big way. The teenage rocker wanted a "bullet belt", so his mom Amanda bought him the fashion accessory online February 7th 2018, and Neal, a Highschool junior, announced its' arrival on Snapchat, changing their lives FOREVER. The self-proclaimed "metalhead" & self-taught aspiring musician plays the guitar, bass guitar and drums never wore the belt to school, but thanks to a social media post where Neal announced, "I can't wait for my bullets" being misunderstood, DeBenedetto earned a ten (10) day out-of-school SUSPENSION for "disruption to the school climate" from Lacey Twp. High School and Ocean County Vo-Tech where he was studying to be an electrician. For tweeting about a fashion accessory! His life, as he knew it, was NOW UNDER A MICROSCOPE!
Worse yet this blown-way-out-of-proportion incident escalated a week later, the day after the Parkland, Florida HS shooting (Feb. 15th last year) when DeBenedetto shared a social media post originating from a HOAX post from South Carolina about the incident. According to Amanda, who we interviewed for well over an hour, Neal's comment, "Bless this Man" was Neal's attempt at a dry humor "put-down" version of "Bless His Heart", a common southern expression. Someone saw the post. The school was notified and Police were called; they interviewed the family on February 21st. After several hours the Police found NO threat, NO intent, NO firearms and NO ammo. The Police were VERY satisfied and their investigation was concluded. The matter was dropped! OR WAS IT?
The escalation itself spun OUT OF CONTROL and a new web that turned the family's lives upside-down soon emerged. An ADDITIONAL long-term, out-of-school SUSPENSION FOR 30 DAYS was doled-out by the schools, thus requiring a "homebound teacher" being sent to the residence. Trips back & forth for Amanda to pick-up & deliver Neal's homework assignments, missed and/or varied work times to make room in her calendar for all of this to happen, and the ever-present ANXIETY of not knowing what the mental health report---the ONLY thing that would allow her son to return to school---would say!
All this negativity weighed heavily upon every family member! DeBenedetto has younger siblings, and one was pulled out of the Lacey system over this debacle. Tensions ran high. Neal became trapped. A VICTIM of "Feel-Good" policies in-place requiring MANDATORY Psychiatric Evaluation and 4-5 sessions with a mental health professional PRIOR to readmittance to his classes! Said evaluation & sessions cost the family $2,500 out-of-pocket because none of it was covered by health insurance!
As part of the MANDATORY psychiatric evaluation process the Lacey Board of Education implemented, the DeBenedetto's were advised to "NOT HAVE ANY FIREARMS IN THE HOME" ---Amanda DeBenedetto
The DeBenedetto's had hired an attorney. By sheer coincidence this attorney worked for the Toms River Board of Education. Said attorney advised the DeBenedetto's to REMAIN SILENT as our original Lacey HS anti-gun story went viral a month later with 2.3 million reached on Facebook alone! Amanda was present at the very wild & videotaped Board of Education meeting that resulted over the illegal & unconstitutional policy we screen shot and shared in March of 2018! She waited silently, patiently, for the ruckus to end so the Board COULD VOTE TO HAVE HER SON READMITTED TO SCHOOL as one of the last pieces of business that evening! The attorney stopped returning phone calls after the suspension was concluded, the evaluation report was submitted and her son was returned to school. The family is presently seeking another lawyer to represent them in this matter, and they are NOT afraid of publicity.
DeBenedetto's bizarre story takes place a month prior to our original Lacey Twp. story that went viral in March of 2018. Those two High schoolers were at a shooting range with a legal AR-15 sporting rifle, posted a photo on social media of same and violated the ILLEGAL Lacey Twp. anti-2A School Policy Handbook that forbids ANY contact with firearms, ON OR OFF school property! We thought when ANJRPC's attorney Daniel Schmutter, the attorney for our NRA state affiliate, wrote a cease & desist letter to the Lacey Twp. School Board last year that we'd heard the last of their anti-gun, anti 1st Amendment ways. Looks like our hopes were SHORT CIRCUITED!
Now 18, Neal has graduated high school as of June of this year. His plans to establish a Metal Band were interrupted; friends to "jam" with weren't allowed over the house due to their fearful parents, and now Neal is trying to find "the new normal". To add insult to injury, DeBenedetto has a certificate for "PERFECT ATTENDANCE" during the entire semester he was told to STAY HOME!
When "Feel-Good" rules are compounded, RIGHTS are thrown onto the altar of Gun Control. Call this story a juvenile RED FLAG LAW run amuck! Any procedure, ruling, policy that sounds good, feels good (to SOME), disarms & prohibits families from owning firearms and promotes a solution to a problem that truly doesn't exist is WRONG on so many levels. We wish this family well and be "made whole", because it seems it's the only way Lacey will change its' UNCONSTITUTIONAL, gun-grabbing ways!