Teacher facing axe over threat to snipe Greta Thunberg
An Iowa teacher has been placed on administrative leave after making a threatening remark about Greta Thunberg.
The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist visited Iowa City on Friday to join a climate strike, with demonstrators calling on the University of Iowa and the city to operate on clean energy by 2030.
Prior to the event, Waterloo West High teacher Matt Baish commented on a Facebook post about her visit, writing "Don't have my sniper rifle".
A spokesperson for the school district said a letter had been sent to families and staff of the high school, alerting them that the employee was put on leave.
"We wanted to make you aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees," the letter 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 original Facebook post was written by Mason Severson, a 27-year-old former student of Mr Baish's, who asked in the October 2 post who was attending the rally.
Mr Baish's comment has since been removed.
Mr Severson told The New York Times his comment "was insensitive and taken too far". "It wasn't a joke," he said. "It wasn't baseless. It was irrefutably vile and wrong."
He also noted it wasn't the only time Mr Baish had commented on his posts. In July, Mr Severson posted photos of the Democratic "squad" of four congresswomen - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Mr Baish commented: "all 4 should be out of office … worst Americans in my lifetime."
Ms. Thunberg attended the Iowa rally on Friday and urged those present to "never give up".
"No matter what, we need to continue, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem like, we must always carry on and we must never allow ourselves to give up," she said. "That is simply not an option."