Updated: Maryland teacher placed on administrative leave
Patrick McLaw, a middle school language arts teacher in Dorchester County has been placed on administrative leave after it was discovered that he had written fictional books about a fictional school shooting. McLaw was reportedly taken for “an emergency medical evaluation” and his school was swept for weapons and explosives, though none were found.
Early last week the school board was alerted that one of its eighth grade language arts teachers at Mace’s Lane Middle School had several aliases. Police said that under those names, he wrote two fictional books about the largest school shooting in the country’s history set in the future. Now, Patrick McLaw is placed on leave.
Dr. K.S. Voltaer is better known by some in Dorchester County as Patrick McLaw, or even Patrick Beale. Not only was he a teacher at Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge, but according to Dorchester Sheriff James Phillips, McLaw is also the author of two books: “The Insurrectionist” and its sequel, “Lillith’s Heir.”
Those books are what caught the attention of police and school board officials in Dorchester County. “The Insurrectionist” is about two school shootings set in the future, the largest in the country’s history.
CBS in Washington is reporting that McLaw’s residence was also searched for weapons.
“The residence of the teacher in Wicomico County was searched by personnel,” Phillips said, with no weapons found, reports WBOC.”A further check of Maryland State Police databases also proved to be negative as to any weapons registered to him. McLaw was suspended by the Dorchester County Board of Education pending an investigation and is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”
Does this seem like overkill?
The Insurrectionist and it’s sequel Lilith’s Heir written by McLaw appear to be science fiction, set in the 30th century and it certainly isn’t hard to believe that a writer who is also a teacher would use a pseudonym. It would be unusual if he didn’t. Describing a nom de plume as an “alias” seems a bit over the top.
The reaction to McLaw’s novels has been described as “Soviet style” and has been questioned by publications on both the left and the right.
Writers are often given the advice, “Write about what you know.” One would imagine that school shootings are discussed ad nauseum among teachers and administrators so the topic sparking a writer’s imagination does not seem that out of the ordinary.
If a Federal employee wrote a story about a terrorist attack against a government building would there be a similar response? What if a bank teller wrote a screenplay about a bank robbery?
According to reviews on the books’ Amazon.com pages, people are purchasing the books specifically to support McLaw’s right to free expression.
It would appear that initial reports on this incident missed some pertinent details. It is now being reported that McLaw’s novels were not the primary reason he has been placed on administrative leave.
Details are still very sketchy but Reason.com has this: Answers! Teacher Was Not Given Mental Exam Because of Sci Fi Novels
Officials have several other concerns about McLaw, apart from his letter. He was formerly accused of harassment, and may face charges for a separate allegation of wrongdoing. Privacy laws are keeping everyone vague about the details, since nothing is official yet.
The L.A. Times has also provided some updated information: Mental health issues, not books, led to teacher’s suspension