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New Jersey high school teacher suspended after launching profane tirade and callinga “criminal” in a virtual classroom, school officials said.
A discussion of climate change on Zoom last week turned into a broadcast of grievances by Howard Zlotkin, a teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City. A video obtained by WNBC shows Zlotkin, who is white, saying people “cry and cry about Black Lives Matter.” He also used profanity to talk about the Floyd case.
“He was arrested and he was killed because he didn’t want to bow and at the end of the day we make him a fucking hero,” Zlotkin said in the recording. Floyd died while in the custody of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, who was.
At one point, Zlotkin said to his students, “If you think I’m privileged, then f — you, because my daughter thinks I’m privileged and I don’t talk to her.”
Timmia Williams, one of the students in the class, told WNBC that Zlotkin appeared to be aiming his anger at black students, and he called on four black girls to write an essay. Her mother, Margie Nieves, said her teenage daughter cried about the incident.
“She was crying. She came up to me and said, ‘Mom, why is there something wrong with my skin?'” She told the news channel.
Mussab Ali, chairman of the Jersey City Board of Education, wrote on his Facebook page that Zlotkin had been suspended amid an ongoing investigation.
“This individual’s comments are not representative of our district or our city,” Ali said. “In June of last year, our school board passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in light of the gruesome murder of George Floyd.”
Zlotkin is also an assistant professor at Hudson County Community College, not far from the high school. In a statement obtained by CBS News, the school said it suspended Zlotkin with pay, pending an investigation, after learning of his “offensive and derogatory language while teaching at Dickinson High School Zoom.” CBS News contacted Zlotkin via Facebook, but he did not immediately respond.
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