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Former L-Way Teacher Allegedly Threatened to Shoot School Officials (Update)

Former high school teacher Ryan Gardner faces a felony in connection with threats against Lincoln-Way school officials.

A former Lincoln-Way Central High School teacher who checked himself into a Chicago hospital for psychiatric care faces a felony charge of telephone harassment in connection with alleged threats against school district officials.

A warrant for the arrest of Ryan Gardner, 40, was secured late Tuesday afternoon.

Gardner, who reportedly lives with his parents in downstate Danville, headed north and voluntarily checked himself into University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, said Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow. Even though he is receiving psychiatric care, Gardner would have been able to leave the hospital of his own volition, Glasgow said.

Officials hit Gardner with the felony charge, accusing him of calling Lincoln-Way School District Deputy Superintendent Thomas Eddy on Dec. 6.

About a week after the call to Eddy, officials in the Danville area learned of him threatening to "shoot and kill" officials from the Lincoln-Way School District, a law enforcement official said.

Authorities also reportedly learned Gardner was talking about trying to get his hands on a gun and that he told at least one person in the Danville area that he was given permission by a minister to kill someone.

Glasgow said his office has been communicating with officials from Vermilion County, where Gardner resides, about potential charges against Gardner in that jurisdiction as well.

Gardner has been charged with threatening Lincoln-Way officials twice before. He was first arrested in 2004 and eventually pleaded guilty to telephone harassment. The plea got Gardner a 120-day jail sentence.

Gardner was again charged with telephone harassment in April 2007. The charges were later boosted to felony harassment by electronic communication, but Gardner was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The arrest warrant issued Tuesday was forwarded to the police department at University of Illinois Hospital, Glasgow said. When Gardner is released from care, he will be taken to the Will County jail and held on $750,000 bail.

Glasgow said putting together the case against Gardner quickly was vital, especially in the wake of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

"In light of what happened in Connecticut, we have to be at a heightened level," he said.

Lincoln-Way spokeswoman Stacy Holland confirmed late Tuesday that Gardner taught at Lincoln-Way Central. She said she would have more details of his employment history Wednesday.

Lincoln-Way High School District 210's response to the threats

A statement on the LWHSD210 web page posted today reads:

"This message is for our parents of the students of the Lincoln-Way High School District 210. A former Lincoln-Way Central High School teacher is being charged with telephone harassment in connection with alleged threats against school district officials. He is in the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago.

"Our first priority is to provide a safe environment for your students. We have security and crisis plans that have been developed and practiced with area police, fire and emergency services. We meet on a regular basis with local first responders to discuss and review appropriate action in the event of an emergency.

"Our buildings are locked and we have reviewed and practiced the crisis plans with all our staff and students at the beginning of each school year. In addition, each high school has a Will County Deputy School Resource Officer stationed in each school.

"We are working with law enforcement officials to resolve this issue."

Taka Guess December 19, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I had Greg Sharpe as a teacher, and he was one of the best teacher's I ever had. When I went to school, sleeping with a teacher was the thing to do to gain popularity. At 16, these girls knew what they were doing.
E. December 19, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I had this man as a teacher years ago. He always made me feel extremely uneasy. I was also there when the school had to be put on lockdown because he was outside the school on his motorcycle threatening Mr. Provis. One of my other teachers had heard him talk different times about "wanting revenge" and "wanting to blow the school up" this man has been seriously unstable for years. I really hope they do something.
chris December 19, 2012 at 10:14 PM
LWHS is very well known about hiding issues like.this. i know because j used to work there. Bomb threats and occasional threats. Its sad to say that LW doesnt like the bad press but for the sake of our kids they should take action asap!
Laura Keating December 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I couldn't agree with you more. What is disturbing about this story to me is that he admitted that he had a problem, sought out help and didn't receive the help that he desperately needs. Jail will, if anything, only worsen his mental health. This "off of our streets and no longer our problem" mentality needs to be reconsidered. I, personally, would rather pay taxes to help people on the road to recovery than pay for a holding cell.
pro streeter December 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM
So what you are saying is "its ok because he was only targeting officials and not students"? What are you, an idiot??? I don't care who his target was, he was threatening to shoot people who are involved with the school, whether or not their office is there or elsewhere... I can't for a second believe you and that other moron are sticking up for this looney... Are you kidding me?
Kelly December 20, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I have known Ryan for over 25yrs. It is one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed. He is a kind and sweet man who at the prime of his life was struck with this mental illness. I am not aware of any of these accusations but I do know he needs a hospital not a jail. Please pray that he will get the help he needs. His illness has ruined his life.
Jim C. December 20, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I can't imagine Mr. Gardner ever hurting a student. My mother works at a local restaurant and he came in some time last year and wanted to know how my group of friends and I were. He was my baseball coach for 2 years and we could tell the team was a big part of his life. A shop teacher passed away suddenly in 2004 and I know that hit him hard. It led him to going off the deep end and off his medication or whatever levels him out. I'm glad he is being stopped before he can do any real harm to himself or anyone else. I really hope he gets the help he needs.
LWCjunior December 20, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Mr. Eddy's office is in Lincoln-Way Central so we students are kind of endangered too
brody prater December 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
BP I've been best friends with Ryan for 27yrs and we live by each other now. so you all know he is a great friend and person who has a illness none of us can fathom. i tried my best to help him the last couple weeks but his illness doesn't allow him to understand that his medicine isn't working. all he knows and undestands when he has episodes is that everyone is questioning him and won't leave him alone. i am the one person he comes to for reassurance and to unwind, which he did the weekend this phone call happened. i tried with all my soul to get him to the hospital before he got hurt or hurt someone else, unfortunately he couldn't see it and i had to walk away. the issue here is that when the cops are called they have no reason to do anything to him as he hasn't done anything, but you say to them he is bipolar and is starting to loose it, they say unless he admits himself to hospital there is nothing anyone can do till he does something worthy of being arrested then he can be evaluated. no one can admit him, neither family nor friends has that control and when your mental illness starts to take over your body that person cannot see it. to resolve this something has to be done by law that gives authority to a person of the sick persons choice that will allow them to help out before any thing happens. the problem isn't the guns, bombs etc it's our government not seeing the real issue to all these tragedies happening..
brody prater December 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM
BP If i had the authority to take Ryan to be evaluated none of this would have happened.Ryan is a man i'll stand behind for the rest of my life, he's a decent and honest friend i'd trust my life with. i hope to god he gets the treatment at a hospital before going to trial for the things he did while he was mentally sick because going straight to jail is NOT the answer. and to all you people who say something should be done, he's a nutcase etc....may god help you because this man has a didease that was given to him not by choice....remember that!!! cause it could be your kid, brother, sister mom or dad one day who gets this didease and you will then see that unless the laws change for the mentally disable people that you are not able to help them until they do something that they never would do in their right mind!! love ya Ryan your best friend BP
Ann Piasecki December 20, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thank you Brody for your compassionate outreach to your friend. I put a call into the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.)
brody prater December 20, 2012 at 08:01 PM
thank you Ann, i'm still sick to my stomach thinking about what has happened, i keep telling myself I did everything possible, i even wrote him a note telling him that i was trying to help and to allow me to take him to the hospital and if he didn't agree with the way i felt then to sign it and give it back, which he did. i said i'll keep this in my GUN safe at home and allow you to read it after you get out of either the hospital or jail from spiralling out of control, to prove to you that i was there for you and tried to help. it also reassures me now that i tried my hardest to not judge him and be there for him as he would me. my prayers go out to anyone w a family member or friend who has this terrible disease because i know how they feel when they notice a change to them.....helpless!! BP
tom lukich December 20, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I am also an old student of his. He was a real good teacher and always willing to help you out. I dont know what happened to him but hope he gets the help he needs
brody prater December 20, 2012 at 08:59 PM
pro streeter the man is not looney, thank you. so qwit judging without all the facts....your the nutcase....without the proper data you only have an opinion and just like assholes [you] everyone has one....BP
aware with fear December 21, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Those diagnosed w/ mental illness do not always follow their doctor's advice. Family and friends who love these people, try to do everything within their power to help them. But when they will not care for their illness, the illness takes over. This 'take over' creates others around them to become victims. Because the one with the illness, only sees his interpretation of reality. No one can reach them. And if in their mind, violence is the only answer, they have made their decision. Often, once these people act on their 'need' to become violent, remorse is not something they ever deal with. They realize only a sense of justification. Their illness is extremely serious and can prove to be lethal. It's frightening, because they can devastate lives within minutes. What can be done?
pro streeter December 21, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Brody, maybe you should put yourself in the shoes of a parent with a child in Lincoln Way Central. You see, I have enough to worry about without some looney calling and making threats to the school that I trust with my kid. This is the second person who has done this in less than a year. So, like it or not, you friend is looney and he even realized it and turned himself in. As far as being an asshole, I may be, but I'm not defending someone who is threating violence against school officials....
brody prater December 21, 2012 at 01:24 PM
pro streeter i'm not even going to enter this with you, but i will add that he didn't turn himself in and that this paper was given the wrong info, i being his friend know the facts and they are not as stated in this paper, but i'll let you be the loser here and i will move on....but like the internet everything you read in a newspaper isn't the truth, but keep on judging people by what you here or read, call them names....you'll get yours....karma is a bitch!!! oh by the way i just read on the internet that a bigfoot was spotted in California wearing a santa suit riding a harley down the highway....can you believe it!!!! i know it's true because i READ it...lol...have a merry xmas, maybe in the future when karma smacks you in the face, i'll read about you....may god forgive you for judging people without knowing the facts....peace my cyber nutcase...
brody prater December 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM
well put "aware with fear"......BP
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Bad things, just like good things, happen everywhere. You aren't immune to tragedy because you go to a private school. http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/11662481-school-shooting-murdersuicide-at-florida-private-school
pro streeter December 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM
OK, so he didn't turn himself in, and someone else was wide enough to see that he is a looney (your friend)?? I'm not worried about karma, and I am not interested in your name calling... You had a chance to help this guy and you walked away, knowing he was a dangerous person, but its ok because he gave you a note and you put it in your gun case. Save your own ass??? Maybe as proof you weren't involved? What a low life you must be to know that this guy was seriously thinking about harming someone, and possibly innocent bystanders, and yet you did nothing, well except call me names and defend him on the internet... So yea, I'm the loser...
brody prater December 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
really that's the best you got saying i didn't try to help my friend of 27yrs......have you not read anything i said, stating the cops would/could not do anything everytime they came, saying he has to do break the law before something can be done......and you say i'm the blind one....wow...who's the looney in this equation.....Where did the name calling originate.....you. Who read this article and assumed it all to be true, even though you don't know Ryan or his history but chose to call him LOONEY...... you. Who accuses me, his best friend, of not trying to help...... you. The man has an illness, period. yet the law/government doesn't allow anyone else to admit the person to the hospital, they will only step in when they do something wrong. THAT'S THE ISSUE AT HAND, all most all the tragedies going on are by people with a MENTAL ILLNESS, are you blind or what? something needs to be done to allow ME as a friend to help them before they do something terrible to others.
brody prater December 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Please explain how I was suppose to help him anymore than i tried please....alot of people in the country would love to here YOUR answer to this question....i'll be waiting...tell me exactly how i could have done more please....i lo9ve how you use a made up name to hide behind....you see i have nothing to hide PRO STREETER...i'm in Danville, il if you wanna talk face to face about your solution to the EPIC QUESTION at hand, how do we help the mentally disabled folks who won't admit themselves....the world is waiting!!!!! fill us in PRO STREETER......you have all the answers hidden behind that cyber stalking name of yours....google me and give me a call, i'm not hiding behind a fake name....going to lunch, hope to hear your answer soon..... brody prater danville, il 61834
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
As an adult, Greg new what he was doing. Being a good teacher and being a good person are two different things. Committing a crime is still committing a crime. It was his responsibility to help keep his students safe, not to sleep with them. Are you really that daft?
Kay dee December 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
It's sad that people bring up the past that has nothing to do with this situation. I remember when those teachers were fired from the school and the back lash that happened on those two girls and it was terrible that not only students but teachers were involved in the ridicule. I hope Ryan gets the help he needs and can find peace with his illness before something really bad happens to anyone. Compassion and understanding is something you can't teach but if we all had just a little inside us maybe these things wouldn't happen.
pro streeter December 21, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Listen Looney Bin!!! I am not interested in having a conversation with you or knowing where you live.. You are just as looney as he is. The guy has been arrested twice already for making threatening phone calls, and he makes a call to a high school threatening to shoot and kill people, and you are here defending him. That says enough anout you that I don't need to know any more. I have a psuedo name because I don't want some looney doing exactly what you suggested and googling my name and adress and coming to my home looking for trouble. Thats what looney people do... So please give up your quest to find trouble with me, I'm not interested in your problems "friend". Mental illness or not, he belongs locked up...
brody prater December 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
typical internet stalker, hiding behind a fake name, obviously you do this often beings your worried about someone coming after you.....lol merry xmas to you FRIEND!!!! i'm done wasting key strokes on you...you should move on to another post and stalk it under a scared fake name...BP
Linda December 21, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Cynthia, you are in severe denial. Priests have been molesting boys forever. This has to be a joke-post. Fadder forgive her, she know not what she do.
pro streeter December 22, 2012 at 06:43 AM
A couple things left out of this article... Gardner was arrested in 2010 for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. was arrested in in 2009 for criminal trespass to a residence which was dismissed as part of a plea bargain on a drunk driving charge was arrested in both 2007 and 2008 on drunk driving charges was arrested in 2005 for resisting police was involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility in both 2003 and 2008 This guy has a great track record!!! Every year for the last 9 years this guy has one way or another been in trouble with the law, and yet some of you are still defending him. WTF? Either you people have no idea what you are talking about, or you are just as nuts as he is...
the furnace January 10, 2013 at 05:55 AM
I never had this man as a teacher nor can I make a criticism in one direction or another. However i agree with one of the earlier comments made about LW and their covert handling of subjects such as these: Perhaps if they were not preoccupied with standardized testing and promoting elitism in a select few students, they may have a better rapport with students and parents alike. It's unfortunate that this situation as well as the increasing heroin problem are continually swept under the proverbial carpet in favor of statewide recognition. It's time for LW to ground themselves in the reality that they are NOT New Trier and will never be in the same bracket (income, culture, student-body, administrators, or otherwise). The time to wake up is now.
Lindsey January 29, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Brody.. you are completely wrong. If he is threatening to hurt himself or someone else, the police can, and will, admit him to the hospital for a psychological evaluation. If the hospital feels he needs to be commited after that, they will commit him involuntarily. And if that doesn't work, you can file a petition in court. So, no, you didn't do everything you could for him. http://www.namigc.org/content/crisis/involuntarytreatment.htm

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