Over the weekend, various reports stated that a middle school teacher in Dorchester County, Maryland, was placed on leave because he wrote two science fiction novels about mass school shootings. But according to information received by the L.A. Times, Patrick McLaw was placed on leave because of mental health issues.
“It didn’t start with the books and it didn’t end with the books,” State’s Attorney for Wicomico County Matt Maciarello told The Times. “It’s not even a factor in what law enforcement is doing now.”
McLaw wrote “The Insurrectionist” (2011) and “Lilith’s Heir” (2013), under the pen name Dr. K.S. Voltaer.
Concerns about McLaw were raised after he sent a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County. Those concerns brought together authorities from multiple jurisdictions, including health authorities.
McLaw’s attorney, David Moore, tells The Times that his client was taken in for a mental health evaluation. “He is receiving treatment,” Moore said.
Because of HIPPA regulations mandating privacy around healthcare issues, he was unable to say whether McLaw has been released.
McLaw’s letter was of primary concern to healthcare officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension. Maciarello cautions that these allegations are still being investigated; authorities, he says, “proceeded with great restraint.”
What’s more, he told The Times, “everyone knew about the book in 2012.”
McLaw, who is also known as Patrick Beale, was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 22 due to “concerns raised by law enforcement,” according to an official statement by the Dorchester County Public Schools.
Many people feel that McLaw’s freedom of speech was violated and the school system is using the mental health slant as an excuse.