This is truly bizarre:
A Dorchester County, Maryland, teacher was taken in for an "emergency medical evaluation," suspended from his job, and barred from setting foot on another public school. Authorities searched his school, Mace's Lane Middle School in Cambridge, for weapons. As classes resumed, parents worried that their children were in danger, so police decided to remain on the premises to watch over them.
What happened? The teacher, Patrick McLaw, published a fiction novel. Under a pen name. About a made-up school shooting. Set in the year 2902.
The 23-year-old language arts teacher is the author of two self-published science fiction e-books set 900 years in the future, written under a pen name. The novels apparently depict the aftermath of a terroristic attack on a school in a futuristic society.
How would you react to that? This is how the Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools, the Dorchester County Board of Education, County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Dorchester Sheriff's Office, and the Cambridge Police Department reacted to it:
Patrick McLaw, 23, has been placed on a leave of absence pending an ongoing investigation “due to significant matters of concern brought forth by law enforcement.”
“While on administrative leave, he is not allowed to come onto school property or participate in school events,” the statement continues. “Mr. McLaw’s teaching duties have been assigned to qualified personnel to insure the smooth transition of students into the fall semester,” the statement reads.
Dorchester Sheriff James Phillips told WBOC that McLaw was taken in for an emergency medical evaluation but the sheriff declined to disclose the current whereabouts of McLaw. Police swept Mace’s Lane Middle School for bombs and guns on the same day McLaw was taken in for the evaluation – coming up empty in the search....
“A K-9 sweep was conducted at the Mace’s Lane School looking for explosive devices and other weapons. A secondary search was performed by police and school officials looking for suspicious packages or other items. Both of these searches were negative.”
“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.”
Mr. McLaw was earlier in the year nominated for First Class Teacher of the Year and was previously featured in USA Today for helping a 14-year-old student self-publish e-books on Amazon.
If he ever gets out of this mess, he's going to have a hell of a lot of Orwellian material for his future science fiction.
Update Sept 2: See Update on the Detained Science-Fiction Writing Teacher in Maryland.