A middle school teacher in Warner Robins, Georgia, is facing charges for allegedly threatening to kill a student who criticized his Israeli flag.
Benjamin Reese, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Warner Robins Middle School, was arrested Dec. 8, a day after the incident. He is being charged with making a felony terroristic threat and misdemeanor cruelty to children in the third degree.
The incident reportedly began after a student asked the 51-year-old teacher about the Israeli flag he had in his classroom and remarked she found it offensive, according to Macon CBS affiliate WMAZ TV.
After Reese told the student he was Jewish and had family members who still lived in Israel, the student reportedly told him she found the flag offensive “due to Israelis killing Palestinians.”
Reese allegedly told the student she was being antisemitic and then got angrier, according to several different witnesses who reported hearing him tell the student variations of “I’ll kick your ass. I should cut your motherfucking head off,” and “I will drag her ass into the parking lot, slit her goddamn throat and kill her.”
One faculty member said she heard the teacher tell the student, “You don’t make an antisemitic comment like that to a Jew.”
Witnesses said the student responded negatively at Reese’s comments, but kept calm, even as Reese screamed at her and two other students to get out of his classroom, according to the Macon Telegraph.
Reese allegedly kept screaming at them and making violent threats as they walked down the hall. A witness said they later heard Reese cursing in his classroom that he “should not be spoken to like that because he is a Jew.”
Reese was taken to the Houston County Jail where he was released on a $7,500 bond two days after his arrest, Macon Fox affiliate WGXA TV reported.
The Houston County School District released this statement about Reese to WMAZ TV:
“All employees of the Houston County School District are required to follow the Code of Ethics for Educators. If there is a violation or accusation of a violation, we investigate and respond appropriately. While we are not able to discuss specific personnel matters, we can share that Mr. Reese has not been on the campus of Warner Robins Middle School since Dec. 7, 2023. Safety and the well-being of our students and staff is our number one priority.”