An Iowan teacher has beed placed on administrative leave after he allegedly posted a threatening comment on Facebook in regards to climate change activist Greta Thunberg, the Des Moines Register reports.
Matt Baish, a science teacher at West High School in Waterloo, was placed on leave last Friday after he purportedly posted "Don't have my sniper rifle" on an article shared from Little Village Magazine about Thunberg the day before. Though the comment was later deleted, a screenshot of it was shared on the Waterloo Community School District Facebook page, sparking outrage from fellow users.
"How is this man a science teacher if he is not believing world renowned scientists and the science community that climate change is real?" one person wrote. "How is this man allowed to continue to be a teacher at all if he is threatening to shoot a child?? He needs to have his teaching certificate revoked and he needs to find another job field entirely.. one that does not involve him being directly responsible for other's lives, especially children!! And IF he has guns perhaps they should review his permits."
According to a statement from Waterloo Schools director of school and community relations Tara Thomas, teachers and students at West learned about Baish's comment the day he was put on leave.
"We are aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees," Thomas 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."
Thunberg, 16, rose to prominence two weeks ago when she blasted world leaders for failing to act on climate change in an emotional speech at the United Nations.
"This is all wrong," she told them. "I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you."
The Swedish teenager was one of 16 children who filed a legal complaint with the United Nations against Brazil, France, Germany, Argentina and Turkey for not doing enough to tackle climate change. Last Friday, she joined over 3,000 other activists in demanding Iowa City and the University of Iowa achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
"We teenagers and children shouldn't have to take the responsibility, but right now the world leaders keep acting like children and someone needs to be the adult in the room," she told the crowd. "The world is waking up. We are the change and change is coming whether they like it or not."