Teacher Who Made 'Sniper Rifle' Comment About Greta Thunberg on Facebook Put on Leave

An Iowa teacher who made a threatening comment on Facebook about climate activist Greta Thunberg has been placed on administrative leave.

The 16-year-old visited Iowa City on Friday to join a climate strike. Demonstrators reportedly called for the University of Iowa and the city to operate on clean energy by 2030. Prior to the event, Matt Baish, a teacher from Waterloo West High School posted on Facebook about Thunberg's visit, writing "Don't have my sniper rifle." Baish's comment no longer appears on the original post, according to the Miami Herald.

A spokesperson for the Waterloo Community School District told Newsweek on Friday afternoon that a letter was sent to families and staff of the high school, alerting them that the employee was put on leave.

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

Thunberg has emerged as leading voice calling for climate action since she began striking in front of Swedish Parliament in August 2018 to demand politicians take more aggressively address climate change. The 16-year-old arrived in the U.S. at the end of August, ahead of the United Nations climate summit.

She delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations and told Congress to align policies with science presented in the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Global Warming.

"I don't want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists," she said while addressing U.S. lawmakers in Washington. "And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action."

Forty-six percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the action the government has taken to preserve the environment, and those demanding action to decrease carbon emissions have rallied behind Thunberg and other teen activists urgently calling on governments to move more quickly to address global warming.

The teen activist has also been ridiculed by right-wing media figures, who have compared her to a Nazi, and politicians. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both of whom have denied climate science, have lashed out at the Thunberg. She has responded the same way both times: by changing her Twitter biography to incorporate their disparaging comments.

Thunberg will be traveling to Chile for the UN climate conference in December.

Young activists and their supporters rally for action on climate change on September 27 in Montreal. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images