An Arizona math teacher who told his students “hail Satan” while wearing horns and carrying a pitchfork has been put on administrative leave.
The incident took place last week at Mesa High School, according to KPNX.
Sophomore Nathaniel Hamlet said he relayed what he saw in class to his father, who went to the school, leading to the teacher being placed on administrative leave.
“Some people thought it was funny, some people didn’t like it, some people were like ‘whatever,’ they just blew it off,” Hamlet said.
Hamlet said he was irked with the stunt because of his faith.
“I said, ‘Don’t do that to me,’ and I pushed [the pitchfork] away maybe three or four times, and he still said it and still did it,” Hamlet said.
A Geometry teacher in @mpsaz came to teach dressed as Satan, wearing horns and a pitchfork. He reportedly held the pitchfork over each student’s head and said “HAIL SATAN” as they walked into the classroom.
Why are teachers pushing satanism onto students? pic.twitter.com/dcnoXnxyrZ
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) October 26, 2023
His father, who lost a bid for the Mesa school board last year, said he had to take action to protect his son.
“I was livid because I am a Christian as well, obviously. What really tipped it over for me is, he kept telling him no, and … the teacher kept persisting,” Chris Hamlet said.
“Mesa Public Schools administration was notified of an alleged incident at Mesa High School late Wednesday (10/25) afternoon after school hours. Our Human Resources department began the investigation Thursday (10/26) morning and placed the teacher on paid administrative leave pending the result of the investigation. The investigation remains ongoing,” the school said in a statement.
Nathaniel Hamlet told KPNX that putting the teacher on leave was “fair, but he did it repeatedly to everyone. So I feel like you should probably get fired.”
Chris Hamlet said that the teacher was way out of line.
“If you’re gonna keep the Christian stuff out, then you got to keep the devil-worshiping stuff out, period,” he said.
KPNX said the teacher, whose name it did not release, told the station the incident was for Halloween spirit week, which had a theme of dynamic duos. He said the teacher in the next room wore an angel costume.
“Participating in spirit weeks like this is a way for me to engage with my students and bring fun to my classroom. It’s truly not any more complicated than that,” he wrote to the station.
The teacher was identified as math teacher Jesse Ruiz by AZ Free News, which said he did not return requests for comment.
The site said the teacher had been honored in 2022 for creative ways to support learning.
“[S]preading the word of physics and math, you know, I know it’s not everyone’s favorite subject, but I love it so much. I think my bubbly personality kind of helps with that,” he said then.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.