The Secret Service is investigating a North Carolina high school teacher after she allegedly told a classroom of students that Vice President Mike Pence “should be shot in the head,” according to numerous reports.
“The woman allegedly told her class at Cuthbertson High School in Union County that Pence should be ‘shot in the head,’ WJZY reported over the weekend,” The Charlotte Observer wrote.
The unidentified teacher allegedly made the comment the same week Pence stopped in Union County to campaign for congressional candidate Rep. Dan Bishop, Fox 46 reported.
Union County Public Schools officials said they are taking the allegations “very seriously” and have put the teacher on administrative leave, according to a statement provided to WBTV and other news outlets. The Observer said the Secret Service is investigating.
“THIS JUST IN: @UCPS_MonroeNC says teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave last week after alleged inappropriate comments about VP Mike Pence. The Secret Service is aware of the reported comments made by the teacher. @WBTV_News,” reporter Chandler Morgan wrote on Twitter.
The school district said in a statement: “Union County Public Schools is aware of the allegation of inappropriate comments made by a Cuthbertson High School teacher. District administrators are taking this allegation seriously and an investigation is being conducted. This is a personnel matter and information related to this alleged incident is protected by state law.”
NBC Charlotte talked to former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker about what the investigation could involve. “I’m sure they will eventually get around to going out and interviewing the teacher,” Swecker told the station.
Swecker said federal authorities will likely be trying to answer several questions in determining whether criminal charges will be filed.
“Whether it was actually an imminent threat, does she have weapons?” Swecker said. “Have other threats been made? Does she have a criminal record?”
Swecker said it comes at a time when there are deep political divisions in the country, which could be a contributing factor.
“Politicians and leaders of every persuasion have engaged in pretty heated, very unprofessional dialogue,” Swecker said. “I think some people out in the general public tend to take a cue and take it a step further.”
The comments prompted criticism in the community.
“You should not be bringing in those type of viewpoints to your job,” Union County GOP Chair Allison Powers told WBTV.
Powers isn’t calling for the teacher to be fired, but says the comment was inappropriate. “To just wish that kind of violence on anybody is just way out of bounds,” Powers said.
Firas Obeid, a parent to two students at the school, said he doesn’t necessarily support the vice president, but also said the comment was wrong. “This is the vice president of the United States. He’s an elected official,” Obeid told the station. “Affiliation to a specific party does not entitle us to make a statement like that to anyone.”
Union County, along with neigboring Mecklenburg County, are in the state’s 9th Congressional District where Bishop, a Republican, narrowly won a special election against Democrat Dan McCready this month. Trump and Pence both visited the district, along with Donald Trump Jr. The visits pushed Bishop over the top, political analysts said.