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Teacher Placed On Leave After Controversial Facebook Comment About Greta Thunberg

Teacher Placed On Leave After Controversial Facebook Comment About Greta Thunberg

A teacher has been placed on leave followed 'vile' comments about Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, his school's district has confirmed.

Matt Baish, a chemistry teacher at West High School in Iowa, commented on a Facebook post to say he would not be attending a rally where Greta Thunberg would be attending.

His reason?

"Don't have my sniper rifle," he wrote, according to screengrabs from Facebook.

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Credit: Facebook/NBC/CW
Credit: Facebook/NBC/CW

Baish was identified by school officials from the Waterloo Community School District, who said he would be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The district 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."

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West High School. Credit: NBC/CW
West High School. Credit: NBC/CW

Mason Severson - a former student of Baish's - had posted on Facebook to ask who would be attending a climate strike rally in Iowa City, also linking to an article that featured a photo of Thunberg.

But he didn't expect to receive Baish's response, which he has since condemned.

Speaking to KWWL, Severson said: "My response originally was his commentary was very vile, and a lot of people carried that same thought on with it.

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"They thought he was just very sick and demented for making that comment over such a simple post."

As for whether or not Baish should be fired, Severson said he believes that decision is up to the school district.

A friend of Severson's, said on Facebook that Baish's comment about Thunberg was 'disgusting' and 'absolutely vile for anyone, let alone a teacher'.

Greta Thunberg. Credit: PA
Greta Thunberg. Credit: PA
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Anne Phillips, whose children went to West High School, also told KWWL she was 'honestly frightened', and said she shared Baish's comments online in an effort to raise an alert to the community.

She continued: "I was pretty shocked that sort of a comment would be made to someone in the same age group as the kids he was teaching."

Phillips also said she worries for any of Baish's students who share the same views as Thunberg, adding: "To have them have to 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, we as parents have to stand up against that."

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The investigation is ongoing.

Featured Image Credit: PA/Facebook

Topics: Greta Thunberg, News, US News

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]