Teacher Swears at Students, Calls George Floyd a 'Criminal'

NJ science teacher Howard Zlotkin has been suspended
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2021 3:24 PM CDT
Teacher Suspended After George Floyd Rant
Damarra Atkins pays respect to George Floyd at a mural at George Floyd Square, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A New Jersey teacher with strong feelings about the George Floyd case was suspended after he shared them with high school students in an expletive-laden rant during what was supposed to be an online discussion about climate change. Zlotkin, a science teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, described the murder victim as a "criminal." "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," he said, per NBC New York. Students say that after they challenged his position, Zlotkin ordered four Black girls in the landscape and design class to write an essay on "why Black lives should matter," reports the New York Times.

Timmia Williams, 17, says Zlotkin swore at her and other students during the class last Wednesday and again the next day, when they didn't turn in the essays he had demanded. She tells the Times that she was so upset by the exchange Wednesday that she couldn't celebrate getting accepted to college that day. Mussab Ali, the president of the Jersey City Board of Education, says an investigation is underway and Zlotkin has been suspended with pay. He has also been suspended from his position as an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College, reports CBS. The college says it is looking into his "offensive and derogatory language while teaching a Dickinson High School Zoom." (More George Floyd stories.)

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