GENEVA – Facing a no-trespass order issued last week by Geneva School District 304, a man posted an apology on his Facebook page that, in part, blames news media for causing fear in the community after an incident at Mill Creek Elementary School.
Colin McGroarty, 41, whose children attend the school, became upset last week when he said the kindergartners left out the word “liberty” from the pledge.
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.
"I am apologizing because the verbiage used by some of the papers … frankly has scared a lot of people in the community," McGroarty said. "People have really been scared and put in fear by [media] taking some items out of context."
Also according to McGroarty's posting, "I would like to apologize to Geneva area residents for unintentionally contributing to a heightened state of fear in the local area … Please understand that generating fear was not the intent … at NO POINT were the children or school officials ever threatened."
McGroarty sent emails to school officials and parents. The district issued a no-trespass order so McGroarty cannot come on the property without being arrested. The district also called for an increased police presence at all its schools.
He said his goal is not to be thought of as a threat or to cause fear.
"I’d also like to clarify that the 'disturbance' where I told the children they shouldn’t promise to follow rules when they don’t know what the rules are and to ask their parents about the Nazis and why this lesson is important, did NOT include any profanity," McGroarty's Facebook posting states.
According to his Facebook posting McGroarty wrote before the disturbance, he asked to speak to the Mill Creek principal twice and was denied.
"They said, 'No, he is not available to speak at this time,' " McGroarty said.
"While I have no doubt that had school officials been willing to discuss the issue, the outcome would have been quite different, that does not excuse my releasing such a statement without first having someone else proofread the statement, and distracts from the real issue with which I’m concerned," McGroarty's Facebook apology states.
School board president Mark Grosso said he was not aware of McGroarty's online apology.
"I have not seen anything, and I have no comments about anything," Grosso said.