Activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the strike for a “Town-Gown Climate Accord” hosted by the Iowa City Climate Strikers, Oct. 4, 2019. Joseph Cress, Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES, Iowa – The teacher who referenced a sniper rifle in a Facebook comment about teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit last week to Iowa City has resigned.
Matt Baish, a science teacher at Waterloo West High School, had been placed on administrative leave after posting “Dont have my sniper rifle” Oct. 3 on an article about Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl who has spoken out about climate change.
“The Waterloo Schools employee put on administrative leave due to a social media post has resigned effective immediately,” said an emailed statement from a Waterloo Community School District spokeswoman.
Baish’s comment, in addition to his own Facebook page, appears to have been deleted. But a screenshot of his comment was posted on the Waterloo Community School District Facebook page.
He worked for the district for 26 years.
Greta Thunberg visit: Iowa teacher on leave after ‘sniper rifle’ comment
The teachers and students at West High on Oct. 4 received a message about Baish, saying that he was put on leave, according to a previous district statement provided to the Register.
“We are aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees,” that 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.”
Waterloo police Lt. Kye Richter said last week that law enforcement is also investigating the incident. Waterloo police Capt. Joe Leibold said Friday he could not say if that investigation is still ongoing, and that the department would only publicly address the incident if an arrest is made.
Thunberg joined more than 3,000 activists at a climate strike Oct. 4 in Iowa City. Strikers demanded the University of Iowa and the city agree to a “Town-Gown Climate Accord,” which calls for both entities to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 and asks the university to cease burning coal at its power plant.
“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,” Thunberg said in Iowa City. “The world is waking up. We are the change and change is coming whether they like it or not.”
Contributing: Robin Opsahl. Follow Tyler Davis on Twitter: @TDavisDMR.
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