Grafton teacher charged with making terrorist threats

Seventh-grade instructor enraged by swastikas told students he had 17 guns and ‘would F them up,’ complaint says
Ozaukee Press staff

A Grafton middle school teacher charged Monday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with making terrorism threats is accused of becoming enraged after finding swastikas sketched on a piece of paper in his classroom last week and threatening students by saying he owned 17 guns and “would ‘F’ them up.”

David W. Schroeder, a 46-year-old seventh-grade teacher at John Long Middle School, also told students on Friday, May 12, he would have his daughter come to their homes with a baseball bat and he would “go scorched earth” on them, according to statements from students contained in a criminal complaint charging Schroeder with the felony.

“I wish pain on all of you and your families,” Schroeder told his students, according to a 13-year-old who was in his classroom at the time.

Students in the classroom said Schroeder, whose contract was not renewed for next year and who has been accused of making other inappropriate statements to students, was screaming when he made the threats, the complaint states.

The incident occurred at about 9:15 a.m., and a short time later a student who asked to go to the bathroom instead went to the office and reported it to school officials, the complaint states. Other students texted or called their parents to tell them what happened.

John Long Middle School Principal Christopher Weiss interviewed Schroeder, then escorted him from the school. It wasn’t until 11 a.m. that a parent called police, according to the complaint.

During Schroeder’s initial court appearance Monday, Ozaukee County Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Lindsay said it was concerning that Schroeder left the school and was at large for several hours before police were called and an officer contacted him. Schroeder then turned himself in, Lindsay said.

Grafton School Supt. Jeff Nelson said during an interview Tuesday that Weiss’ top priorities were removing Schroeder from the classroom and, after interviewing him, getting him out of the building. At the time, Nelson said, Weiss was not aware that threats Schroeder made involved references to guns.

In a press release, Nelson praised middle school staff members for their handling of the situation and wrote, “Mr. Weiss promptly took action to ensure that all students were safe and that learning could continue.”

But police who responded to the school shortly after 11 a.m. described the scene as chaotic.

One of at least three officers who responded reported that a man who pulled into the school parking lot at a high rate of speed got out of the vehicle and walked aggressively toward the building. The officer stopped the man, who said he was there to take his child home because of safety concerns.

Inside the school, several scared students were gathered in the main office as staff members fielded calls from concerned parents who said they were coming to pick up their children, the complaint states.

Weiss, the principal, told authorities that two days before the incident Schroeder told him that he found a notebook in his classroom with a swastika on it but couldn’t determine who owned it.

On May 12, Schroeder discovered that two students had a pen drawing of a leprechaun with a rainbow, pot of gold and shoe. The drawing was in pen, and over it several swastikas were drawn in pencil, although the Nazi symbols were drawn backwards, according to the complaint.

A student in the classroom said Schroeder then confronted the entire class.

According to the police department, Schroeder is Jewish, and during his tirade he told students that Jews own guns and threatened to “come after” them, the complaint states.

The incident also affected Woodview Middle School, which is next to the middle school and where extra police patrols were requested Friday night for Family Fun Night.

During Monday’s court hearing, Lindsay, who requested Schroeder’s bail be set at $15,000, said the teacher has been the subject of several recent complaints, including one in which he was accused in January of telling a student he was “the worst in his career.”

In February, Schroeder was accused of calling students in his class “D-bags,” and a month later it was reported that he recruited a student to punch another student and referred to the child as “his enforcer,” Lindsay said.

Schroeder’s lawyer, Justin Padway, who requested bail be set at $5,000, said his client worked as a tile installer before putting himself through night school to earn a college degree and then a teaching degree from Cardinal Stritch University. He said Schroeder has worked at John Long Middle School since 2021 and is the Math Olympiad coach.

Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy set Schroeder’s bail at $10,000 and ordered him not to come within 500 feet of any Grafton school and not to have contact with Grafton public school students, except his children, who attend school in the district.

Malloy also ordered Schroeder, who said he owns multiple guns, to surrender his firearms to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office before being released from jail.

Making a terrorist threat, which according to the law is a threat of death or bodily harm that creates a risk of causing the evacuation of a building, public inconvenience, public panic or the interruption of governmental operations, is punishable by a maximum one year, six months in prison and two years of extended supervision.

Nelson said this week that the middle school is investigating who is responsible for drawing the swastikas.


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