Iowa Teacher on Leave After Making ‘Sniper Rifle’ Comment About Greta Thunberg Visit

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WATERLOO, Iowa -- An eastern Iowa teacher is on leave after parents raised concerns about a Facebook post which seemingly threatened 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg was in Iowa City on Friday to join students and activists at a climate strike. On a Facebook post about the event, Waterloo West High School teacher Matt Baish posted a comment saying, "Don't have my sniper rifle."

The district put him on leave Friday and said their social media policy tells staff not to make comments that include threats of violence or bodily harm.

While some have called his comment sarcastic, some parents are worried about the message it sends to his students, many who are the same age as the Thunberg.

“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,” said Anne Phillips, the mother of a student.

Thunberg has drawn both widespread praise and criticism for calling out world leaders for not taking a serious stance against climate change. Her speech at the United Nations General Assembly drew the wrath of President Donald Trump, who later posted a comment mocking her on Twitter.

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