Deputies called to Geneva schools as parent complains about Pledge
By Linda Girardi For The Beacon-News January 10, 2013 3:57PM
Mill Creek Elementary School in Geneva.
The following statement was issued by the Geneva School District:
There was a disturbance in the Mill Creek Elementary School library on Wednesday afternoon involving a parent and the use of language that is not typically heard in a school setting. A kindergarten class was present at the time. The situation was quickly resolved in order to minimize the disruption to the academic process, and the Kane County Sheriff’s Department was notified.
On Wednesday evening, the same parent proceeded to email District Board members, administrators, and a select group of parents in the Mill Creek community and post a social media message charging Mill Creek Elementary School with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance incorrectly; stating that the word “Liberty” has been excluded from the Pledge of Allegiance. The word “Liberty” has not been excluded from the Pledge of Allegiance, which is recited daily by students and staff in all of Geneva’s schools. Following the Pledge of Allegiance at Mill Creek Elementary School, students also recite the Mill Creek Elementary School Creed, which states:
“In order to develop good citizens,
“We believe that every person should
“Treat others with respect
“Follow school and classroom rules
“Try their best”
The emails this parent sent, accompanied by the social media post prompted District officials to involve the Kane County Sheriff’s Department once again. The safety of all our students is of highest priority, and there will be an increased police presence at all of our elementary schools today and in the future. We will continue to work cooperatively with local law enforcement.
School District officials will not make any additional comments on this incident... Parents with questions or concerns are asked to contact their building administrator.
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:38PM
GENEVA — A parent who caused a disturbance over the way students were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance prompted the Kane County Sheriff’s Office to assign deputies to all Geneva schools on Thursday.
The parent, Colin McGroarty, complained that the Pledge of Allegiance was being recited improperly while in the library at Mill Creek Elementary School on Wednesday, where a kindergarten class was present, the sheriff’s office said.
On Thursday, school officials released a statement saying Wednesday’s disruption involved “a parent and the use of language that is not typically heard in a school setting.”
School officials said the situation was “quickly resolved” and the sheriff’s office was notified.
“Anytime something happens in a school, especially nowadays, we take a really close look at it,” said Lt. Pat Gengler, sheriff’s department spokesman.
“We decided to provide an extra level of assurance to parents their children are taken care of,” he said.
Gengler said they are reviewing the facts with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if any laws were broken. No charges have been filed.
“In light of what happened in Connecticut, we thought it would be good to reassure people we were there to take care of the kids,” Gengler said of sending deputies to the schools.
Parent: No ‘liberty’
McGroarty, 41, said he is divorced and lives in Rockford but volunteers in his two children’s school on Wednesdays.
“I must have showed up a little earlier than normal because I never walked in when the kindergartners were saying the Pledge of Allegiance before,” McGroarty said Thursday evening.
“I was very surprised the Pledge of Allegiance was not what I am used to hearing. I don’t know if it is a school issue, but I did not hear the word ‘Liberty.’ ”
The School District said the word “Liberty” is not excluded and the children say the Mill Creek creed after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The school creed states: “In order to develop good citizens, we believe that every person should treat others with respect, follow school and classroom rules and try their best.”
The father said the two should be cited separately.
“Even if they go straight from the Pledge of Allegiance without a break with their hand on their heart while facing the flag, that is instilling something other than what parents are aware of,” McGroarty said.
“I do not want my children to blindly swear to orders and rules when they don’t know what they are.”
McGroarty said his mother spent 12 years in a post-World War II camp.
“She grew up in a prison camp. There is a bit of a hypersensitivity about the indoctrination of children,” he said.
“That said, I am making no claim that is the agenda (of the school), but I would rather nip it in the bud.”
“Overall, Mill Creek is a wonderful school from an academic standpoint — they have a lot more parental involvement,” McGroarty said.
McGroarty said three police officers showed up at his house Wednesday because his ex-wife told them he was a threat to his children. But that has happened multiple times, and every time it has been thrown out, he said.
School officials said McGroarty continued to email School Board members, administrators and a group of parents in the Mill Creek community Wednesday night, and also posted a social media message.
“The emails this parent sent, accompanied by the social media post prompted district officials to involve the Kane County Sheriff’s Department once again ...,” the district said. “There will be an increased police presence at all of our elementary schools today and in the future. We will continue to work cooperatively with local law enforcement.”