Grafton teacher arrested after making 'terrorist threats' to students

NOW: Grafton teacher arrested after making ’terrorist threats’ to students

GRAFTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Grafton police arrested a teacher at John Long Middle School on Friday, May 12, on charges of making "terrorist threats" to students in his class as well as "exposing a child to harmful material, descriptions, or narrations." Both of these are Class I felonies.

The police made a report of an incident that happened around 9:55 a.m. after a student texted his mom from class saying that his teacher made threatening remarks and said that he owned 17 guns. The teacher -- identified by authorities as David Schroeder -- did admit to this during a meeting with the principal and said that the threats were made out of anger.

The teacher said he became angry after he saw student artwork and a notebook in his class with swastikas drawn on them. The teacher, who is Jewish, said he would "send his daughter to their homes with a baseball bat," "go scorched earth on them," and wished pain upon the students and their families. Upon requests to discuss this matter, the teacher said would not speak with the investigating officer without his lawyer.

As Schroeder appeared via video call in the courtroom Monday afternoon, May 15, the state's attorney's office says Schroeder's contract hadn't been renewed by the Grafton Public School District due to past inappropriate behavior.

This all came before the latest incident.

"There was another incident in March where it was reported he had recruited one student to punch another student and then referred to that individual as his enforcer," said Ozaukee County Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Lindsay. "So there's a history of very erratic and quite frankly inappropriate behavior which I think escalates the bail concerns despite the fact he has no prior record."

Schroeder's attorney, Justin Padway, says the fact that Schroeder, a veteran, family man, and longtime teacher turned himself in shows he isn't a threat.

"I think the fact that he has no criminal history whatsoever, that he served our country, that's he's been really teaching youth for an extensive period of time really go in his favor," said Padway.

In a statement to CBS 58 News Padway said in part:

"[...] In a time of rising anti-semitism, he is alleged to have responded inappropriately to a highly offensive and hurtful anti-semtic symbol that has no place in our society. We are still in the process of fully investigating this matter."

Ozaukee County Circuit CourtJudge Paul Malloy says in the current political climate, and with the constant threat of mass shootings in American schools, this case is very different than it might've been in the past.

"You know the time when somebody can blow off steam and have a meltdown, I think that bird has flown a long time ago so it has to be taken seriously," said Judge Malloy.

Grafton Schools Superintendent Jeff Nelson put out a statement that says in part,

"This morning at John Long Middle School, administration was informed of an issue regarding the inappropriate and unprofessional behavior of a staff member. An investigation was immediately conducted, and the teacher was immediately placed on leave and escorted from the building. This staff member will continue to be on leave and will not have contact with students until we complete our investigation.

Please know that student safety is always our top priority. Mr. Weiss promptly took action to ensure that all students were safe and that learning could continue. Our JLMS staff is to be commended for their professionalism and teamwork in handling a difficult situation."

CBS 58 will continue to monitor this story and report additional details as they become available.

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