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‘I was scared’: 7th grader recalls teacher threatening class after discovering swastika in notebook

<i>WISN</i><br/>Ethan Poulos is a seventh-grade student at John Long Elementary. He told WISN 12 News he was in math class on Friday when his teacher became upset and started making threats after discovering a swastika drawn in a notebook.
WISN
Ethan Poulos is a seventh-grade student at John Long Elementary. He told WISN 12 News he was in math class on Friday when his teacher became upset and started making threats after discovering a swastika drawn in a notebook.

By Caroline Reinwald

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    GRAFTON, Wisconsin (WISN) — Brenda Poulos remembers working in Kenosha last Friday when she received a series of texts from her son.

“I know he’s not supposed to use his phone in school, so the fact that he texted me was already, something’s up right,” Poulos said. “He said, ‘Mom, something’s going on at school. They fired our teacher and something bad is going on.”

Poulos’ son, Ethan, is a seventh-grade student at John Long Elementary. He told WISN 12 News he was in math class on Friday when his teacher became upset and started making threats after discovering a swastika drawn in a notebook.

“Five seconds later, he went on this ramble about how this was a disgrace to his people and how he wanted to scorch Earth on us and how he was apparently going to cause pain on all our families,” Ethan said. “How he’d send his daughter to our house with a baseball bat and that he had 17 guns and he wasn’t afraid to use them.”

“I was scared. I had never heard a teacher say that to me or any kids before,” Ethan said.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday afternoon in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, David Schroeder, 46, of Grafton, was charged with terrorist threats – create risk of causing result.

According to Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Lindsay, the school never contacted law enforcement. Lindsay said police only became involved more than an hour after the incident, when parents contacted police saying they were concerned their children weren’t safe with Schroeder in the community and with admitted access to guns. After police arrived at the school, the entire class was sent home early.

“It was chaos. There were a lot of kids in office area, panicked parents coming to get their kids,” said Sgt. Sean Fuerstenberg with the Grafton Police Department.

Police said they contacted Schroeder, who voluntarily turned himself in and was arrested on Friday.

In court Monday, the prosecutor said he was particularly concerned that Schroeder mentioned that he had a number of firearms.

Judge Paul Malloy, who is presiding over the case, did not take Schroeder’s actions lightly.

“The time when somebody can blow off steam and have a meltdown, that bird has flown a long time ago,” Malloy said.

According to the complaint, Schroeder told the students that he was Jewish, that “all Jews have guns and that he had 17 guns in his basement and that he would ‘F’ them up.”

Schroeder bonded out of jail on Tuesday. As a condition of his bail, he was ordered to first turn over any dangerous weapons to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

The principal indicated to police that Schroeder was already under investigation for “other concerning or inappropriate behavior towards students,” and the school district had already determined his contract would not be renewed for next year.

The district has not responded to WISN 12 News’ repeated requests for comment.

In a news release from Grafton police on Friday, superintendent Jeff Nelson said, “student safety is always a top priority.”

Police said they’re still investigating who made the swastika drawing.

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