Teacher shown on video cursing at students, calling George Floyd a 'criminal'
A New Jersey high school teacher was removed from his position after he was recorded cursing at students and calling George Floyd a "f— criminal" during a Zoom session.
Howard Zlotkin's class at Dickinson High School in Jersey City began Wednesday with a discussion on climate change before turning into an expletive-filled rant, NBC New York reported. It was not clear Friday what prompted the shift in the conversation.
"If you think I'm privileged then f— you, because my daughter thinks I'm privileged and I don't speak to her," he said during the online class that was recorded and shared with the outlet.
At one point, he appears to give a student the middle finger as he says "f— you."
He is also accused of making insensitive comments about George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
"I hear people whining and crying about Black Lives Matter, but George Floyd was a f— criminal and he got arrested and he got killed because he wouldn't comply and the bottom line is we make him a f— hero," Zlotkin says.
This is the latest incident of educators across the country being caught during Zoom sessions making racist or offensive comments.
Timmia Williams, a senior, told NBC New York that Zlotkin seemed to focus his rant on Black students and told her and three other Black girls to write an essay.
When the 17-year-old showed up the following day without her essay, Zlotkin cursed at her, she said.
"I don't think you can make a case. You know what Timmia? You're full of s—, too," Zlotkin is heard saying in a second video.
The teen's mother, Margie Nieves, said the incident upset her daughter.
"She was crying. She came to me, tells me, 'Mom why is it there's a problem with my skin?' " she said.
Williams and her mother said they contacted school officials and the board of education after the first incident but didn't immediately get a response.
Jersey City Public Schools said Friday in a statement to NBC News that Zlotkin was removed from teaching.
"The school was in the process of taking statements from students today before proceeding with disciplinary actions, and then the second video surfaced," the district said in the statement. "The teacher will not have access to students or the school as we proceed. We are appalled by the statements, profanity, disrespect and treatment of students."
Zlotkin told NBC News on Friday that he could not comment until he speaks with a union attorney.
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