A popular community college professor was suspended after posting a photo of his daughter wearing an oversized T-shirt bearing a tagline from this season of Game of Thrones—Daenerys Targaryen's "I will take what is mine with fire and blood."
Schmidt, who teaches art and animation at Bergen Community College in
New Jersey, shared the photo on Google+, where it was seen by several of
his work contacts. One of them, a dean, decided the shirt was a veiled
threat of some kind.
faculty union is currently in conflict with the school administration
over promotions and tenure, and recently registered a vote of
no-confidence against the school's president. Schmidt himself had just
filed a grievance after being denied a sabbatical. That may explain some
of what happened next.
According to Inside Higher Ed,
Schmidt got an email over the weekend from Jim Miller, Bergen's HR
director, calling him into an immediate meeting with administrators
about the alleged "threatening email."
At the meeting, Schmidt explained the shirt in the context of Game of Thrones and
showed Miller that the "fire and blood" tagline has 4 million results
on Google. The professor asked why his photo had caused such a reaction,
and was told that "fire" could be a metaphor for "AK-47s."
was placed on administrative leave without pay later that week, and
told he would have to pass a psychiatric evaluation before he could
return. He says he passed that same evaluation in 2007 after being
diagnosed with depression.
referenced incident refers to a private personnel matter at Bergen
Community College. Since January 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school
shootings have occurred in the United States. In following its safety
and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a
member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents –
expresses a safety or security concern."
Research has yet to establish a link between support for the Mother of Dragons and likelihood of shooting up a school.