A teacher in Texas has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his alleged ties to a white nationalist group, school officials confirmed to HuffPost Thursday.
Stephen Arnquist, who teaches Japanese at Skyline High School in Dallas, will remain on leave “pending the outcome of an investigation” into comments Arnquist allegedly posted online, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Independent School District said in a statement.
Identity Evropa, whose members attended and helped organize the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is listed as an extremist organization by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Identity Evropa members have long used the messaging app Discord to communicate with each other. Last month, the independent media collective Unicorn Riot obtained those communications and published them online. (Using those Discord messages, HuffPost previously identified seven members of the U.S. military connected to Identity Evropa. All are now under investigation by their respective military branches.)
An Identity Evropa member going by the name of “Stephen - TX” posted 28 times in the Discord group. He stated that he “lived in Japan for 7 years” and that he is now “a high school Japanese teacher in the ghetto.”
“The school is 40% Black, 60% Hispanic school,” wrote Stephen-TX. “The school was was 90% white back in the 70s. Walking down the hall by the auditorium looking at the band, choir, etc, photos year by year, it’s... it’s not fun.”
According to publicly available data, 99 percent of students at Skyline High School are nonwhite.
Stephen-TX described his students as “somewhat higher tier blacks and Hispanics,” but added that “they’re still unimpressive compared to mostly white classes I observed in neighboring districts.”
In December 2018, shortly after he appeared to have joined Identity Evropa, Stephen-TX posted the results of his 23andMe DNA test. The results showed that he was of mostly British and Scandinavian ancestry.
On the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, a commenter by the name of “Arnquist” introduced himself to other racists on the site as an “American of mostly British and Swedish ancestry.”
Elsewhere online, Arnquist appears to have been a frequent commenter on the white supremacist web forum The Right Stuff, where he posted under his full name.
Activists with Eugene Antifa also uncovered a blog Arnquist allegedly maintained on Blogger, where in 2014 he wrote about taking the “red pill,” a term frequently used by the so-called alt-right to describe an awakening to racist and fascist beliefs.
Identity Evropa is a deeply racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic group. Its members participated in the torchlight march on the eve of the deadly “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, chanting “Jews will not replace us!”
Arnquist did not respond to a HuffPost request for comment on his alleged membership in the group.
Robyn Harris, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Independent School District, told HuffPost in a statement that Arnquist has taught at Skyline High School since August 2018.
The district, Harris said, is “committed to providing high-quality instruction in every class.”
“We proudly embrace the diversity of our students and value the families we serve,” she added. “Together, we believe every student can grow, succeed and achieve.”
This is not the first time that a teacher has been accused of being a white nationalist.
Last year, a HuffPost investigation exposed a middle school teacher in Florida as the host of a white nationalist podcast.
Earlier in 2018, a Catholic substitute teacher in Maryland was fired after it was revealed that he worked for a white nationalist think tank and had attended the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
And in 2017, the principal of a Louisiana charter school was fired after footage surfaced showing him wearing jewelry associated with white nationalism. He had also appeared on white nationalist podcasts.