Iowa teacher placed on leave after 'sniper' comment about Greta Thunberg visit

A high school teacher in Iowa has been placed on administrative leave after he posted a threatening comment on Facebook Thursday in response to a news story about the local visit of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Waterloo West High School science teacher Matt Baish posted “don’t have my sniper rifle” next to a story about the Swedish student’s trip to Iowa City Friday, The Des Moines Register reported.

Others responding to Baish were horrified by his comment. Screenshots of his remark, which was later deleted, were posted on the Waterloo Community School District Facebook page, according to the newspaper.

Parents emphasized to a local news station that Baish made the threatening comment about a child the same age as students he teaches. That means students can enter a classroom “where they don’t feel safe, where they don’t feel they can share their opinion, where they don’t feel respected” said one mother (see the video above). “We as parents have to stand up against that.”

Parents, teachers and students at Waterloo West High School received an email from Waterloo Community School District officials Friday about Baish being placed on administrative leave.

“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.”

A police spokesman told the Des Moines Register that law enforcement is also investigating Baish.

Baish could not be reached for comment.

Waterloo Schools’ social media policies warn staff to “think twice before posting” and advise not to post or approve comments that include “threats of physical or bodily harm.”

Thunberg joined more than 3,000 activists at a “climate strike” Friday in Iowa City. Demonstrators demanded that the University of Iowa and the city agree to a climate accord which calls for both entities to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 — and demands the university to cease burning coal at its power plant.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.