A Saudi primary school located in the kingdom's Al Baha governorate terminated a teacher accused of blasphemy and insulting religion.
The man was reported to school officials for replacing the word "God" with "devil" on a set of exam papers before they were distributed to students last Tuesday. Fellow teachers at the institution said the test was originally scheduled for Wednesday but their now-fired colleague insisted that it be held a day earlier. They explained that he appeared to be in a bizarre state of mind before he entered the exam hall to distribute the papers.
The test papers he gave out were quickly collected from students the moment the teacher left the examination area. Local educational authorities were then notified of the incident.
The man's actions were also reported to police, who have referred the case to the country's public prosecution. Given that it involves blasphemy - a strictly punishable offense under Saudi law - the defendant may face further legal trouble.
Investigations into the incident revealed that the teacher's strange behavior has been ongoing for the past few years.
The week before his latest antic act happened, educational administrators had to report him to local police after he went on a rant against them and then lit a cigarette inside the school campus.
Weeks before that, he dashed into two neighboring school campuses and attacked their admins.
It seems like he has a track record with violent incidents including several that date back to 2016. The teacher was accused of assaulting a young student and a colleague at a school he previously taught at.
Some think the teacher's reprimand came a bit too late
Parents of the shocked students are understandably upset over the incident, especially since this isn't the first time this specific teacher is reported to local educational authorities. Several parents questioned why it took so long for the school to take action against him.
Others speculated whether he was transferred to their kids' school as a punishment for misbehaving in other institutions and called on local educational authorities to take over the case.
The spokesman for Al Baha's Education Authority, Mohamed Hadban, tried to respond to all these concerns. He explained that immediate measures were taken in the wake of the most recent incident "to ensure the safety and protection of students' physical and mental wellbeing," Sabq news site reported.
He also added that the teacher was fired after an investigation was launched into the matter and his files have now been referred to police who will look into criminal charges that his actions might carry.
Hadban stressed that the now-terminated educator was punished in the cases that date back three years when they were first reported.