GENEVA – Geneva District 304 has issued a no-trespass order against a parent who disrupted the Pledge of Allegiance at Mill Creek Elementary School on Wednesday.
City and county police and deputies increased their presence at Mill Creek and the district’s other schools in response to the incident, school officials said.
“You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of students and staff,” district officials said in a news release. “We understand that emotions are heightened in the current climate of school violence, and we will continue to be mindful of this going forward.”
Colin McGroarty, 41, whose children attend the school, became upset when he said the kindergarteners left out the word “liberty” from the pledge. McGroarty said he volunteers at the school around noon every Wednesday.
According to a statement by the district, McGroarty used “language that is not typically heard in a school setting.” Also according to a district statement, the word “liberty” was not left out and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited daily in all of Geneva’s schools.
McGroarty sent an email to school board members, administrators and some Mill Creek parents, and he posted messages on social media.
Kane County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler said the district issued the no-trespass order.
“He is not allowed on district property for any reason,” Gengler said. “Should he come on [the] property, he will be arrested. This is not a court order as he mentions in his Facebook posts. It is a document issued by the district.”
District 304 spokeswoman Kelley Munch said she could not release the no-trespass letter on advice of counsel.
“There is no court order for no trespassing,” McGroarty said in an email response.
In the emails he sent to school officials, McGroarty wrote that he shed blood for his country “and will do so again if necessary.” He said that line wasn’t meant as a threat. He said as a U.S. Army veteran, he would defend his country today if he needed to.
In a statement issued Friday, school officials said the district has a plan at each school to handle emergency situations, as well as work closely with city and county law enforcement to review emergence procedures and do annual drills.
“This was a situation specific to a particular building involving an identified individual, and that the decision to increase law enforcement presence at the other buildings was purely for precautionary reasons,” the district’s statement said.