A Minnesota teaching assistant has been placed on leave by a school district after sending out a message on Twitter calling for the murder of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Twitter account “Spooky Spam” sent out a tweet on Oct. 6 saying, “So whose [sic] gonna take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?”
The account was later suspended.
Tweets from a Minnesota special education teacher calling for someone to kill Justice Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/HdtcVtRqLd
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) October 8, 2018
Superintendent Mark Zuzek of Intermediate School District 917 in Rosemount said in a statement that the district received a complaint regarding the employee who allegedly posted the tweet.
“The employee has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Pursuant with the data practices act, we are limited to providing additional information regarding this matter,” he stated.
Zuzek said that the district has received “a substantial number of calls as parents and community members learned of the post and the message it forwards,” according to KARE 11.
According to CBS, the post originated in Ramsey County.
The local sheriff’s office there is being assisted by FBI agents in the investigation.
The teacher was identified as Samanta Ness, reported the Washington Times. KARE 11 noted that Ness deleted all of her social media accounts shortly after the tweet was posted.
Minnesota teacher Samantha Ness has been placed on leave and is being investigated by the FBI after she tweeted, "So whose going to take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?" https://t.co/zNT2g1VnpO pic.twitter.com/SmoW6NIniI
— Heavy.com (@HeavySan) October 8, 2018
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also aware of the incident and will follow up as appropriate.
Please contact District Superintendent Mark Zuzek at 651-423-8229 for further questions relating to the school district’s involvement in the matter. (2/2)
— Dakota County SO (@DakotaMNSheriff) October 8, 2018
What Investigators Are Looking For
Investigators will look at whether the teacher has any past conduct that could be concerning, including purchasing a gun or making statements with a similar sentiment as the message to other people.
“They’re going to have to look at other things she has said, other conduct – has she mailed letters, made statements to others, purchased a gun, etc.?” Debbie Lang, a criminal defense lawyer, told KMSP.
Additionally, district officials will look to see whether the paraprofessional breached her contract.
“Each individual employer can establish their own policies. Beyond that, in terms of the school district, they’re going to be looking at her contract parameters they’ve set forth to see if she breached her contract with them,” Lang said.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has prosecuted at least two people in recent years for making threats against federal district court judges in the state, with one man being convicted in September and another serving a term of probation after tweeting death threats in 2015.
In addition to possible criminal charges, posts like the one Ness made can haunt people moving forward, a job recruiter noted.
“A post is forever. That’s my mentality, and how I’ve been teaching it to people,” Paul DeBettignies of Minnesota Headhunter LLC told KARE 11. “Most employers welcome conversation, most employers are welcoming to different viewpoints. There are lines, though, likely one shouldn’t be crossing. And the physical violence one certainly starts with that.”