Police, parents react to Shorewood Hills "security stunt"

Published: Feb. 23, 2018 at 5:16 PM CST
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Law enforcement officials and parents have a lot to say about the Shorewood Hills Elementary School Parent arrested yesterday after a scary and bizarre incident at the school.

"I would encourage somebody who feels that there’s an issue to have a discussion instead of putting together a plan to test security or to challenge security," Shorewood Hills Police Chief Aaron Chapin said. "His actions may instigate change, but it may not. Unfortunately the things that he did significantly disrupted and impacted negatively multiple people."

Cara Faris is the mother of a second grader who was in the classroom next to the one Jonathan Fitzgerald entered. She says she believes Fitzgerald was in an impaired state and made a bad decision, but her perception of the safety at Shorewood Hills has not changed because of this incident.

"There was a lot of emotional distress inflicted on the students and on the staff," Faris said. "I think it was a terrible way to make a point. It was bizarre. It was indirect, it seem to target one teacher, it was done in front of children who had no idea what was going on, and it was absolutely the inappropriate time, place and audience."

Many parents on social media are hailing Fitzgerald a hero, saying he exposed holes in security protocols at a public school.

According to Shorewood Hills Police, On February 22, 2018 at about 10:00am, a parent of a student at the Shorewood Hills Elementary School requested access to the school by activating the buzzer at the front door of the building. The parent, Jonathan Fitzgerald of Madison was allowed access to the school and bypassed the school office where visitors are required to check in.

A staff member followed Fitzgerald down the hall from the office where he entered the classroom of his child. Fitzgerald made statements to the teachers 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. He then left the classroom and went to the office where he made the same statement and provided the administrative staff with another piece of cardboard with the word “gun” written on it. Fitzgerald left the school and was later located by Shorewood Hills and University of Wisconsin—Madison Police staff.

Fitzgerald was arrested and booked into the Dane County Jail for Disorderly Conduct. Shorewood Hills Police investigators are working with the Dane County District Attorney’s Office to determine if other charges are appropriate. There is no continued threat to the Shorewood Hills Elementary School or the Village of Shorewood Hills.