Samantha Ness, the Minnesota teacher who sent a tweet saying “Kill Kavanaugh,” referring to recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, has resigned.
The special education teacher had been placed on leave after administrators in the Independent School District 917 in Rosemount learned of the missive. Instead of waiting for the investigation to conclude, Ness opted to resign, according to district Superintendent Mark Zuzek.
“The actions of the employee did not occur at school, and there were no school devices, equipment, or other school staff involved in the actions. At no time were students or staff in danger,” he said in a statement.
Ness wrote a few hours after Kavanaugh was confirmed on Oct. 6, “So whose [sic] gonna take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?”
Tweets from a Minnesota special education teacher calling for someone to kill Justice Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/HdtcVtRqLd
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) October 8, 2018
Another tweet, sent from the same account after users flooded Ness with criticism about the first one, read, “Brett kavanaugh [sic] will be dealing with death threats for the rest of his life being on the Supreme Court. I doubt my mid-west [sic] [expletive] is a real threat.”
The FBI said it was aware of the threat and was working with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the post, because it originated that county, CBS reported.
Debbie Lang, a criminal defense lawyer, told KMSP that investigators will be looking into whether Ness made any similar statements in the past and whether she’d purchased a gun or other weapon.
“They’re going to have to look at other things she has said, other conduct—has she mailed letters, made statements to others, purchased a gun, etc.?” Lang said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also aware of the incident and will follow up as appropriate.
Please contact District Superintendent Mark Zuzek at 651-423-8229 for further questions relating to the school district’s involvement in the matter. (2/2)
— Dakota County SO (@DakotaMNSheriff) October 8, 2018
It’s illegal to threaten a federal official; similar threats have been prosecuted.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has prosecuted at least two people in recent years for making threats against federal district-court judges in the state, with one man being convicted in September and another serving a term of probation after tweeting death threats in 2015.
In addition to possible criminal charges, posts such as the one Ness made can haunt people moving forward, a job recruiter noted.
“A post is forever. That’s my mentality, and how I’ve been teaching it to people,” Paul DeBettignies of Minnesota Headhunter LLC told KARE 11. “Most employers welcome conversation, most employers are welcoming to different viewpoints. There are lines, though, likely one shouldn’t be crossing. And the physical-violence one certainly starts with that.”