Saturday, 1 May 2021

High school teacher is suspended with pay after he told his NJ class that George Floyd was 'a f*****g criminal' and demanded essays only from black students

 A high school teacher in New Jersey was removed from the classroom with pay and is being investigated after he went on a vulgar rant aimed at his own students.

Dickinson High School students were subjected to the hateful tirade during a remote lesson conducted over Zoom.  

The conversation on Wednesday was initially about climate change before landscape and design teacher Howard Zlotkin took it in a different direction.

'If you think I'm privileged then f*** you, because my daughter thinks I'm privileged and I don't speak to her,' Zlotkin said to the class, which was recorded. 

At one point, he allegedly says 'f*** you' to a student while pointing his middle finger at them. 

Zlotkin then delved into racial territory, commenting on George Floyd and decrying the Black Lives Matter movement.

'I hear people whining and crying about Black Lives Matter, but George Floyd was a f*****g criminal and he got arrested and he got killed because he wouldn't comply and the bottom line is we make him a f*****g hero,' Zlotkin says.

Senior Timmia Williams, 17, also told NBC New York that Zlotkin demanded essays from four of the black female students in the class, though it's not clear what those essays would've been about.

Howard Zlotkin, a Jersey City teacher, was caught going on a racist rant on Wednesday

Howard Zlotkin, a Jersey City teacher, was caught going on a racist rant on Wednesday

The teacher called George Floyd a 'f*****g criminal,' saying that he wasn't a hero

The teacher called George Floyd a 'f*****g criminal,' saying that he wasn't a hero

Williams and her mother contacted officials at the school and board of education to discuss the incident, but didn't initially hear back.

Zlotkin was back teaching on Thursday, when he allegedly took aim at Williams for refusing to write the essay he demanded.

'I don't think you can make a case,' Zlotkin said. 'You know what Timmia? You're full of s**t, too.'

Williams cried to her mother about the vulgar incident.

'She was crying,' Williams' mother, Margie Nieves, told NBC New York. 'She came to me, tells me, 'Mom why is it there's a problem with my skin?''

Zlotkin also allegedly pointed his middle finger at a student during the Zoom class

Zlotkin also allegedly pointed his middle finger at a student during the Zoom class

Timmia Williams, 17, was the direct recipient of some of Zlotkin's verbal attacks

Timmia Williams, 17, was the direct recipient of some of Zlotkin's verbal attacks

At that point, the Jersey City Public Schools district finally stepped in and removed Zlotkin from his teaching role, putting him on paid suspension.

'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 a 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.'

Superintendent Franklin Walker also commented on the teacher, calling his conduct 'unacceptable.'

He told NJ.com that 'some of it could be at the same level as a hate crime.' Students at the school will be offered counseling.

'We know it affected them some type of way,' Walker stated. 'If this is the way this [teacher] feels then it means that there are other things that certainly may have gone on, things that were said to address what his personal feelings are, which have no place in the classroom with our children.'

Zlotkin, who has not commented on the videos, is also an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College and New Jersey City University, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Zlotkin is a teacher at Dickinson High School, where he has been suspended from with pay

Zlotkin is a teacher at Dickinson High School, where he has been suspended from with pay

He has been put on paid suspension at Hudson County Community College as a result of this incident.

HCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Christopher said he was in violation of the anti-harassment policy and professional conduct policy at the school.

Zlotkin's directory page on the New Jersey City University website no longer appears to be active. 

He has been working at Dickinson High School for 20 years, teaching other courses in biology and science over his two decades with the school. 

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