Man Arrested Over Giving Teacher Sign Saying 'Gun'

In the wake of Parkland, people are thinking of how vulnerable our schools may be. Right now, the debate is raging over how best to protect our children. Are school resource officers enough–that is, assuming they actually enter the building, of course–or should we allow teachers to be armed? It’s clear that something needs to be done.


For one man in Wisconsin, doing something may well have included showing just how vulnerable one elementary school currently is.

A Madison man has been arrested and banned from Shorewood Hills Elementary School after he handed a piece of cardboard with “gun” written on it to a teacher Thursday morning.

Police said there was no danger to the school and didn’t speculate on what the parent’s motive was.

Shorewood Hills Police Chief Aaron Chapin said Jonathan M. Fitzgerald, 35, activated a front door buzzer at the school, 1105 Shorewood Blvd., around 10 a.m., requesting access to the building. When he was allowed in, he walked past the school office where visitors are required to check in, Chapin said.

A staff member followed Fitzgerald as he went down the hall to the classroom his child was in, Chapin said.

“Fitzgerald made statements to the teacher in the room about being an intruder who was allowed access to the school and gave the teacher a piece of cardboard with the word ‘gun’ on it,” Chapin said.

Chapin said Fitzgerald left the classroom and went to the administrative office where he made similar statements and handed staff another piece of cardboard with “gun” written on it, then left the school building.

“There was no actual threat to the school or people in the school, no threat to their safety, during the incident,” Chapin said. “Whatever the ultimate goal of the individual, the actions that he took were obviously not appropriate and should not have been done.”


The thing is, if there was no threat to the school, just why was he arrested? The charge is disorderly conduct, but I can’t help but think that it was the only charge they could think of and are applying it because they just want to charge him with something.

It sounds like Fitzgerald was trying to make a comment about the vulnerability of the school, which seems pretty clear. He gained access to the school easily enough. There was no one who really put much effort into stopping him, and by handing the teacher a sign that said gun, he proved he was close enough to kill everyone in that classroom.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t particularly smart or a good idea. This isn’t something you should try at home.

However, he made a point that needs to be taken into account. This was shortly after Parkland, for crying out loud. If he could be stopped, why wasn’t he? If there was a school resource officer on the premises, why weren’t they called to deal with this intruder?

I’m sorry, but if my child were enrolled at that school, I’d be thanking Fitzgerald right now. After all, if they can’t stop an intruder with a sign, then just what the hell would they have done if the he actually had a weapon and was intent on killing everyone in that building? Where is the protection for those children? Where?


Someone has some questions to answer, and it’s not necessarily Fitzgerald.

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