A New Jersey college professor says he was suspended after he shared a picture of his daughter doing “yoga” in a Game of Thrones shirt, and the message on the shirt made school officials feel threatened.
“I will take what is mine with fire and blood,” reads the shirt that Francis Schmidt’s young daughter is seen wearing in the photo. Schmidt believed he was simply sharing an innocent photo of his daughter on social media, but when Bergen Community College human resources director Jim Miller saw it, he decided to call a meeting with Schmidt and administrators.
After sitting down with school administrators, Schmidt was told that the school was suspending him until further notice because of a “threatening email.” When Schmidt asked administrators why they felt the email was threatening, they informed him that the line printed on his daughter’s shirt was a nod to school shootings in America.
“I had no idea what to say to that. For God’s sake, I’m a middle-aged art professor,” said Schmidt. “I don’t own any firearms.”
Despite the latest outrage over the professor’s suspension, Bergen Community College is standing by their decision.
“The referenced incident refers to a private personnel matter at Bergen Community College,” said college spokesman Larry Hlavenka in a statement. “Since Jan. 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school shootings have occurred in the United States,” Hlavenka added. “In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern.”
Schmidt believes the real reason behind the suspension has nothing to do with his daughter’s shirt and is actually their retaliation against him for filing a grievance after they denied him a sabbatical a few months ago.