It’s a new school year, and already taxpayer-funded teachers in America’s public schools have made the news for doing disturbingly stupid things.
In the Eastern Shore town of Cambridge, Md., officials at Mace’s Lane Middle School have placed language arts teacher Patrick McLaw on administrative leave after discovering that he allegedly wrote a couple of interrelated, futuristic fiction books in which a major plot happens to be “the largest school massacre in the nation’s history” — killing 947 people.
The local sheriff’s office and the police department hauled McLaw, 23, away for an emergency psychological assessment, CBS DC reports.
Law enforcement personnel searched Mace’s Lane Middle School high and low for any guns, bombs or other weapons. They brought police dogs. They found nothing.
Cops also searched McLaw’s home and a state database. They found no weapons at his house and no guns registered to the fiction-writing teacher.
The sheriff’s office refused to disclose McLaw’s current location except to say, cryptically, that he is “no longer in the area” and “does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”
The Dorchester County school district superintendent released a statement on Monday.
“While on administrative leave, he is not allowed to come onto school property or participate in school events,” the statement said, according to CBS DC. “Mr. McLaw’s teaching duties have been assigned to qualified personnel to insure the smooth transition of students into the fall semester.”
The two books attributed to McLaw on Amazon are titled “The Insurrectionist” and “Lilith’s Heir.” The publisher is Northern Imperial Publishing, which appears from its Facebook page to feature McLaw’s work exclusively.
McLaw has written both books under the impressive alias “Dr. K.S. Voltaer.”
“The Insurrectionist,” set in the year 2902, opens with a huge massacre on the campus of Ocean Park High School. Then, there are threats of a second massacre at a 19,000-student school some 500 miles away.
In a nutshell, either federal investigator Jessica Leigh Hearn or a trio of 12th-grade sleuths must crack the case before “a dangerous and intelligent” “teenage executioner” strikes again and comes “face-to-face with the one person to whom he owes much retribution.”
“Lilith’s Heir,” a sequel, takes place eight months after the events in “The Insurrectionist” conclude. Without giving too much away, the second novel involves “a shakedown of The Phantom’s Regiment,” which is a large criminal enterprise, and a reaction by The Phantom’s Regiment “that just may bring the entire nation to its knees.”
As CBS DC notes, McLaw had previously garnered attention in USA Today because he helped a 14-year-old student get an e-book published on Amazon.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, officials at Newark Memorial High School in the Bay Area town of Newark, Calif., have given a stern written reprimand to a teacher who unleashed a series of vile, profanity-filled remarks on Twitter.
The teacher is Krista Hodges, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
A few of the choice tweets she spewed include:
June 23: “I already wanna stab some kids. Is that bad? 19 more days”
Also on June 23: “I am getting Starbucks for sure before school tomorrow. That way I’ll be refreshed AND have something to dump on the little a-holes”
April 24: “So happy to be done w/school for 10 days, but especially to be away from the ones who truly try my patience & make my trigger finger itchy”
Hodges used the Twitter handle @kree49 and the name Mrs. Hodges.
One of the teacher’s unidentified colleagues told school officials about the tweeting rampage, which occurred some two months ago but is only now coming to light.
Hodges has since retired the offending Twitter account and apologized.
She told the Mercury News that she “deeply regrets” her threatening text messages to the whole, wide world.
“Everyone knows I’m one of the most liked teachers on campus. And that’s because I form meaningful and long-lasting relationships with my students,” she told the San Jose paper.
“I never expected anyone would take me seriously,” Hodges also said. “If I had thought for one moment that someone would read anything I said on Twitter and take me seriously, you’d better believe I would have been much more careful with what I’ve said.”
She added that she was frustrated with her students at the time.
Tim Erwin, interim superintendent of Newark school district, defended the light punishment, noting that he had used California education law and the local teachers union contract to guide his decision.
“The only thing I can say is we were made aware of it, and we followed our policies and procedures and that investigation has concluded,” Erwin told the Mercury News.
School board president Nancy Thomas observed that the superintendent didn’t bother to tell her about the tweets for two months.
“I’m speechless. Oh dear,” Thomas told the Mercury News.
“We take very seriously the safety of our children,” she added.
Hodges still has her taxpayer-funded teaching job.