Grafton teacher terrorist threats charge, man pleads not guilty

A former teacher at Grafton's John Long Middle School pleaded not guilty to making terrorist threats Wednesday, July 12.

Prosecutors accuse David Schroeder, 47, of threatening his students in class on May 12. Police responded to the school that morning after a parent reported her son told her that his teacher made threats about guns and harming students, a criminal complaint says.

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As police got to the school, they saw a parent speeding into the school lot, frantic to pick up their child, concerned for their safety. The complaint described the situation inside the school as "chaotic" with calls coming in from parents of "scared" students.

The principal told police the teacher, Schroeder, reported finding a notebook in the classroom with a swastika on it. Two days later, on May 12, he said he found two students with a drawing with swastikas on it. According to prosecutors, after finding the drawing, a student said Schroeder – who is Jewish – confronted the class, telling the students it was not appropriate and, "I wish pain on all of you and your families."

David Schroeder

Prosecutors said the student said Schroeder threatened to have his daughter come to their homes with a baseball bat and that "all Jews have guns," adding that he had 17 in his basement and he would "(expletive) them up." Other students said he threatened to "go scorched Earth" on them, the complaint said. Multiple students said he was screaming and yelling.

The principal said Schroeder admitted to becoming "enraged" and threatening to "come after" the students and "scorch their Earth," also admitting that he threatened to have his daughter come to their homes with a baseball bat, per the complaint. Prosecutors said he acknowledged he owns guns.

Schroeder was escorted from school, but the complaint said many parents chose to pick up their students – fearing for their safety. There were also extra police patrols for an event that night.

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According to the complaint, Schroeder was already under investigation, the principal said, for "other concerning or inappropriate behavior towards students," telling investigators it had been determined his contract would not be renewed next year.

In a statement, Schroeder's attorney said:

"Dave Schroeder entered a not guilty plea and is presumed innocent of this offense.  He continues to receive an outpouring of support from community members, former students, teachers, administrative staff, advisors, and religious leaders all of whom recognize his extensive history of positive contribution to his community both inside and outside of the classroom.  We ask that everyone keep an open mind and reserve judgment."

If convicted, Schroeder faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He remains out of custody on bond.