Would You Fire This Teacher?

So…would you do it? If you were the principal of his school in Waterloo, Iowa, would you fire a teacher for saying this on Facebook? And, tougher question: Would you fire a teacher if they said similar stuff about someone you despise?

baish teacher greta sniper rifle

Sarcasm? Threat? Free speech?

Here’s what we know: According to the New York Times, chemistry teacher Matt Baish has been put on leave following a Facebook comment. A former student asked who was going to see Greta Thunberg speak at a climate-action rally, and Baish replied,

dont have my sniper rifle

Baish was suspended while the district decides what to do about him.

What do you think they should do? Is this kind of statement an obvious cause for termination? Seems like it to me. After all, this is more than a mere political statement. On its face, this is a threat. To my mind–and I’m guessing lots of people disagree–a high-school teacher who spouts off like this shouldn’t be trusted to teach, even if he says he was joking.

But to be fair, we should consider the reverse as well. If you agree with me about this case, what if you had a teacher in your building who made a sarcastic threat about someone like Donald Trump? Would that be cause for termination?