A humanities teacher is under investigation after allegedly calling for the deaths of Republican senators. The Iron County School District is investigating a teacher from the Parowan High School after the educator purportedly posted a threatening message on Twitter this month.
In a since-deleted tweet, Brian Townsend reportedly wrote, "I only hope the next time a President incites a riot at the capitol, more Republican senators are killed." Townsend is referencing the riots at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
BREAKING - The Iron County School District has confirmed they are investigating this tweet sent by the account of t… https://t.co/LlNSf6qWr8— Adam Herbets (@Adam Herbets)1614220280.0
Brandon Harris, one of Townsend's former students, noticed the Feb. 13 tweet and was shocked that an educator would call for political violence. Harris told KSL-TV, "I really was genuinely surprised."
"I was just appalled at how a teacher could say that because he knows he is an influence on all the younger generation," Harris said.
Harris informed his teacher, "I'm coming for your job."
The former student said he is writing a letter to the school board asking for Townsend to face some consequences for his calls to harm conservative senators.
Townsend has since changed his Twitter account to "protected," so his tweets can't be seen.
The Iron County School Board released a statement on Wednesday, where they announced that they had launched an investigation into the disturbing messages.
"We've only recently become aware of these tweets," the school board stated. "In light of the impact on the educational process and on Iron County School District, we are reviewing with legal counsel our appropriate response and we are investigating the matter."
"His statements do not represent a statement or the opinions of the Iron County School District," the statement read. "In fact, the school district ensures that where it may be a matter of free speech we are very serious about protecting free speech. However, all matters that affect the educational system adversely are not protected and above all we want to make sure that the educational process and the education for our students is protected."
KSL-TV said they reached out to Townsend, but he did not return their calls.
In response to the Capitol riots, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday that it is allocating at least $77 million to combat domestic violent extremism.
"Today the most significant terrorist threat facing the nation comes from lone offenders and small groups of individuals who commit acts of violence motivated by domestic extremist ideological beliefs," Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, said in a statement. "While we continue to lawfully protect against threats posed by foreign terrorist organizations, we also must ensure adequate focus and funding is provided to combat domestic terrorism, some of which is motivated by false narratives and extremist rhetoric spread through social media and other online platforms."
It is part of $1.8 billion in grants to state and local jurisdictions to protect against terrorism and other disasters.
Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin told reporters on Friday, "The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing public safety and national security threat."