By Bob Holt at New Jersey Newsroom
A Bergen Community College professor who was suspended for 8 days earlier this year over posting of an online photo has seen his record cleared.
Bergen Community College suspended 47-year old professor Francis Schmidt for posting a photo of his 7-year old daughter Sophia wearing a “Game of Thrones’ tee-shirt. The shirt read: “I will take what is mine with fire and blood.”
Schmidt said school officials took the word “fire” as a perceived threat of shooting at the school, according to the New York Daily News. A school official said to Schmidt, “When you see the word fire, then someone shows up with an AK-47 here shooting everybody.”
NorthJersey.com reports the BCC officials sent Schmidt a letter Sept. 29 agreeing to remove the suspension from his record. The college admitted they may have violated Schmidt’s constitutional right to free speech. But Schmidt is not satisfied, saying his reputation has suffered.
“If you look me up online, you’ll find the school talking about school shootings. I don’t think you could do a worse thing to my reputation, and I imagine that’s what their goal was,” he said, according to NorthJersey.com.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education set up Schmidt with a lawyer after the incident. According to The Huffington Post, Schmidt has filed a grievance against Bergen Community College for not allowing him a sabbatical and other issues. That complaint is still outstanding.
BCC had little to say about the situation. A college spokesman commented, according to NJ.com, “Rather than participating in protracted discourse resulting in an extended period of legal fees, a compromise definitively closes this matter, treating it as if it never occurred.”