Matt Baish, a Waterloo, Iowa science teacher, has been placed on leave after posting what his superiors took to be a comment threatening teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, USA Today reports.
Last Friday, the 16-year-old Swedish girl visited Iowa City, and on Thursday night, before her visit, Baish wrote in a Facebook post about how he took exception to Greta’s activism. He posted a link to a local newspaper story about the young lady’s visit, and he added his own thoughts as well.
“Dont [sic] have my sniper rifle.”
The post, and Baish’s Facebook account as a whole, have both since been deleted.
However, news of the post reached the attention of Baish’s superiors at Waterloo Schools, and he has since been placed on administrative leave. Teachers and students were given the news on Friday, and the school district issued a statement to the media explaining the situation.
“We are aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees,” the statement said. “The nature of the content shared rose to the level of putting this employee on administrative leave pending an investigation. We appreciate your patience as we sort through the details and thank you for respecting the process.”
The school declined to provide much in the way of specifics, as is usually the case when it comes to internal discipline of both students and officials in public schools, due to privacy issues.
Waterloo Schools Director of School and Community Relations Tara Thomas noted that the district’s social media policy prohibits employees from posting anything that could reasonably be considered as threatening, bullying, or harassing, or promotes illegal or unethical activity.
In addition to being placed on leave from his job, Baish may yet face criminal charges as well. Waterloo Police Lt. Kye Richter said that the incident is being investigated by law enforcement.
Matt Baish is not the only adult to have gotten into trouble for their remarks about Thunberg. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Fox News guest Michael Knowles called Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish girl,” sparking a rancorous back-and-forth between him and another guest, and ultimately spurring Fox News to issue an apology. Thunberg is on the autism spectrum.
Thunberg was in Iowa last week to lead one of her “climate strikes,” joining 3,000 other activists in a demonstration in Iowa City. Thunberg called on both the University of Iowa and Iowa City to stop deriving their electricity from coal-burning power plants.