Professor’s “Game of Thrones” Punishment Rescinded

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A New Jersey professor suspended after he posted to a photo with a quote from "Game of Thrones" to social media has had his punishment rescinded by the college.

Francis Schmidt, who teaches art and animation at Bergen County Community College, said he was suspended for eight days after posting a photo in January of his 7-year-old daughter wearing a T-shirt with a quote from the graphic HBO show that read: "I will take what is mine with fire and blood."

Patti Bonomolo, the school's director of human resources, said in a letter sent to Schmidt Sept. 29 that the school "may have lacked basis to sanction you" for the Google Plus post and that the punishment might have violated his constitutional rights.

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"By sanctioning you as it did, BCC may have unintentionally erred and potentially violated your constitutional rights, including under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Bonomolo wrote in the letter.

The letter was published online by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that set Schmidt up with an attorney to handle the matter. School spokesman Larry Hlavenka Jr. on Thursday confirmed its authenticity.

"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," Hlavenka Jr. said in a statement.

The letter said that the penalties against Schmidt are rescinded and won't be considered against him in any other decisions concerning his employment. Schmidt told The Record newspaper in April that he was ordered to consult a psychiatrist as one of the conditions of being reinstated with back pay.

Schmidt said that school officials questioned whether the reference was meant as a threat against a dean, who was one of the people who viewed the post on Schmidt's Google Plus feed.

The hit television series is based on the books by Bayonne, New Jersey-born fantasy writer George R.R. Martin.

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