An Ohio middle school teacher claimed he was joking after making a racially-charged comment to a Native American student on Nov. 14 to “go back to your country,” WJW reported.

Steve Patterson, a 7th-grade science teacher at Chardon Middle School, was suspended, thereafter, from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5.

“When employee conduct is called into question the district follows a progressive discipline process; verbal reprimand, written reprimand, suspension without pay, and, establishing a clear line of expectations that future conduct of this type will not be tolerated and will result in termination,” the Chardon School District said in a statement, according to WEWS-TV.

“As a district, we expect and find, that our personnel exhibit high levels of professionalism in all settings,” the statement continued. “We will continue to hold all staff members accountable using our progressive discipline process if and when they fail to meet our expectations.”

He has a documented history of behaving unprofessionally towards students by engaging in both physical and verbal misconduct, according to a resolution signed by the board of education. Patterson’s inappropriate behavior dates back to 2010.

“On Jan. 26, 2017, district representatives issued Patterson a written reprimand due to inappropriate physical and verbal interactions with a student,” an example in the resolution stated, according to the Geauga County Maple Leaf. “In particular, Patterson pulled a hoodie string out of a student’s mouth and aggressively slammed a door. Also, in response to a student asking Patterson if he was a dictator like Adolf Hitler, Patterson replied, ‘If I was Hitler, does that mean I put you in an oven?'”

School board member Paul Stefanko asserted: “If this disciplinary action doesn’t stick, or if this continues, then it would be progressively more harsh,” according to the Geauga Maple Leaf.