CAMBRIDGE, Md. (WJZ) — An Eastern Shore teacher is placed on leave after authorities discovered a graphic novel about a school shooting, what they describe as a manifesto and a model of a school in his backyard—but is he being unfairly targeted?
Investigator Mike Hellgren has more on what has educators so concerned.
There is a big debate going on: was the teacher harassed simply because he wrote a fictional novel about the worst school massacre in history. Police say that is simply not the case. They say they have uncovered other troubling writing and have gotten calls from concerned colleagues. They say no charges have been fired.
Patrick McLaw is on leave from his job teaching at Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge after a bizarre string of events that have captured national attention. McLaw is the author of a fictional book detailing a school massacre. Police say a colleague became alarmed at discovering what authorities describe as a “four page suicidal manifesto.”
Police say he was building a replica of a school building in a backyard shed in his home in Salisbury that resembled a Dorchester County campus.
“Within hours, we received information of perhaps an inappropriate relationship involving a student so we had some concerns,” said Sheriff Mike Lewis. “We have a duty and a responsibility to look into these concerns.”
McLaw is not charged with any crime. No one answered the door at his home.
“They’re fine,” said neighbor Aaron Fields. “They keep things neat. Nothing out of the normal.”
The superintendent says he’s been teaching at Mace’s Lane for a year and passed all background checks.
“The gentleman has been placed on administrative leave and has been prohibited from entering any Dorchester County public school property,” said Dr. Henry Wagner.
McLaw’s book describes a school shooter who knows how to shoot without detection, who is after someone and will not distinguish between those he hunts and those who gets in his way.
The sheriff denies he’s targeting this guy because of a work of fiction.
“This guy can write whatever he wants to write about. Everyone has a right to do that,” he said.
The sheriff said they were looking into a possible relationship with a student. He did not say anything beyond that, although he does say McLaw is undergoing mental health treatment and police are maintaining a presence at the school.
McLaw’s lawyer did not return multiple calls for comment.
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