The Internet is abuzz these days about THIS STORY regarding a Rockford man’s objections to the way the Pledge of Allegiance was recited one day last week at an elementary school in Kane County:
A Kane County Sheriff’s deputy was stationed for the second day Friday at Mill Creek Elementary School near Geneva, in reaction to a parent’s protest of how children were saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
But the parent being investigated maintains he is not a threat to children’s safety: “America, God and children are what is important to me,” said Colin McGroarty of Rockford.
School officials called the sheriff’s office twice Wednesday: once after McGroarty spoke in front of children, and later that day after the school district received an email from him that it deemed threatening.
Wednesday evening, they said, the parent emailed the school board, administrators and some Mill Creek school parents, and posted a message on social media, charging that the school did not recite the Pledge of Allegiance correctly, leaving out the word “liberty.”
“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,” the school statement said.
McGroarty said Friday he volunteers at the school once a week, working first with kindergartners on mathematics and computer skills, then with first-graders on art. He has children in those grades.
He said Wednesday was the first time he was there to hear the kindergartners say the Pledge of Allegiance. He thought he heard the word “liberty” removed. But more importantly, he said, was that the pledge was immediately followed by students’ recitation of the school creed. In it, students are asked to treat others with respect, follow school and classroom rules and “to try their best.” He said he was upset they pledged this while still holding their hands over their hearts and facing the U.S. flag.
There should be a break between the pledges, he said, and students should not be facing the flag. He called it “conditioning a child” to blindly obey authority without knowing what is in the rules they are promising to obey. “In the beginning of the Hitler Youth movement, people made similar promises,” McGroarty said.
When he emailed school officials that he had “spilled blood before” and would do so again to defend freedom, McGroarty said, he was not threatening violence; he was speaking as a military veteran who had sworn to protect the U.S. and defend its Constitution. Veterans, he said, will understand that.
Yesterday, McGroarty issued an APOLOGY for his actions:
I would like to apologize to Geneva area residents for unintentionally contributing to a heightened state of fear in the local area. My poor choice of wording in the publicly released statement after witnessing the children in the afternoon kindergarten class promising to obey rules and teachers while performing the Pledge of Allegiance was open to misinterpretation. Please understand that generating fear was not the intent. The event left me horrified and in a heightened emotional state due to my own personal knowledge and experience (knowledge of American history to include Eugenics, the genocide of my own people in Latvia, and the training of children by teachers to turn their parents in for differing political views in Soviet occupied Latvia).
Please rest assured that at NO POINT were the children or school officials ever threatened. In fact, anyone who actually knows me will tell you there is nobody you’d rather have between children and a threat than Colin M. McGroarty. It is because of my love and desire to protect children that I felt it was so important to get the word out.
(NOTE: Photo above is generic and was not taken at Mill Creek School.)