A Jewish teacher has been arrested after allegedly threatening a group of swastika-drawing students with gun violence.
David Schroeder, 46, a teacher at a school in Wisconsin, United States caught two pupils drawing the hate symbol last week as well as discovering one in a student notebook.
Schroeder, who taught at John Long Middle School in Grafton, then allegedly confronted the whole class about the incident. He warned the students that he would “F–k them up” after touting his gun collection.
He also said to the class on May 12 he would get his daughter to come to the students’ homes with a baseball bat, according to prosecutors.
Ethan Poulos, a seventh-grader in Schroeder’s class, said the students were confused as to why he ranted at everyone rather than just report the students who drew the hate symbol.
Speaking to local news outlet WTMJ-TV, the student added: “He picked up the piece of paper and went on a ramble about how that’s bad and that’s a disgrace to his people.”
The 46-year-old was placed on leave from the school district after police responded to calls from concerned parents about the teacher.
The school also told local police that Schroeder wrote a statement admitting to making the comments. In the statement, he wrote that he had made the comments out of anger.
Schroeder was already under investigation by the local district regarding other “concerning or inappropriate behaviour towards students.”
Jeff Caponera, the Grafton local police chief, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his department was investigating both Schroeder’s behaviour and the swastika drawings that prompted it.
He said: “The behaviour on both sides is unacceptable and we need to make sure this doesn’t become a recurring pattern.”
However, he stressed that because the swastikas were not specifically directed at any individual, they “don’t represent a hate crime,” which limits how police can respond to the person who drew them.
Schroeder was released on Monday on bail worth $10,000. He was ordered to surrender all his firearms, stay at least 500 feet away from the school and refrain from contact with all district students except for his own children.
His preliminary hearing is set for June 22.
In a statement to US media, Schroeder's lawyer said: "Schroeder is a family man and educator that has dedicated nearly a decade to positively impacting students.
"He believes in inclusivity and, at a time of rising antisemitism, is alleged to have responded inappropriately after being subjected on multiple occasions to a highly offensive, intolerant, and hurtful symbol that has no place in our society. We ask that everyone reserve judgment as we continue to investigate this matter."