BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Jefferson County geometry teacher was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday after being accused of using a hypothetical assassination plot on President Barack Obama as a way to teach geometric angles.
School Superintendent Phil Hammonds said Corner High School teacher Gregory Harrison could face possible termination.
Hammonds earlier said the teacher remained at work and there were no plans to fire him. But in announcing that the teacher was being placed on leave, the superintendent said his office had been flooded with calls from people around the nation, mainly upset that further action hadn’t been taken against the teacher.
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Roy Sexton, special agent in charge of Birmingham’s Secret Service office, said his agency spoke with the teacher after being told about his comment, but no charges were filed and the investigation was closed.
“We did not find a credible threat,” Sexton said.
Hammonds said he will talk to teachers and students before recommending to the school board what action, if any, might be appropriate. It was not immediately known how long the teacher may be on leave.
Hammonds said the school system in Alabama’s most populous county was embarrassed by what Harrison said.
“There is nothing that can be said to rationalize what he said. We take this very seriously. There is no place in our society for a person to make these comments,” Hammonds said.
Attempts to reach Harrison for comment were not immediately successful. Calls to Hammonds were referred to the school system’s attorney, Burgin Kent, who did not immediately return a call for comment.
Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class, told The Birmingham News that the teacher “was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president.’”