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Waterloo teacher’s controversial comment receives mixed reactions

UPDATE: The story of Matt Baish’s controversial comment towards Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has receieved mix reviews online.

Comments on a KWWL post range from viewing Baish’s comment as sarcastic to those calling for his termination from the school district.

Baish’s comment was made on a post made by Mason Severson, Waterloo, who was asking who would be attending a climate strike in Iowa City where 16-year-old Greta Thunberg would be speaking. Baish responded to the question with “dont (sic) have my sniper rifle.”

“My response originally was his commentary was very vile, and a lot of people carried that same thought on with it. They thought he was just very sick and demented for making that comment over such a simple post,” said Severson.

The district announced Friday that Baish had been placed on leave. The school district’s social media policy advises staff not to comment with “threats of physical or bodily harm.”

“I was honestly frightened,” said Anne Phillips, whose children went to West. She says she shared Baish’s comments online in an effort to alert the community.

“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,” said Phillips.

Phillips worries for any of Baish’s students who may share the same views as Thunberg.

“And 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 Phillips.

Severson says he hopes Baish will be more introspective and open to different views. As for whether Baish should be fired, Severson says that’s up to the school district.

The investigation is ongoing.

It appears as if Baish’s Facebook is currently inactive. KWWL has not been successful in reaching Baish for comment.

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – A teacher at Waterloo’s West High School has been placed on administrative leave after posting a comment on Facebook regarding climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The teacher, identified by the school district as Matt Baish, is believed to have commented “dont (sic) have my sniper rifle” on a post referencing Thunberg’s visit to Iowa City Friday.

Teachers and students at West received the following message:

We wanted to make you aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees. 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.

No other details have been released at this time.

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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