Students at a Jersey City, New Jersey, high school logged into their remote landscape and design class expecting a discussion on climate change Wednesday morning.
What they got was an expletive-filled tirade against Black Lives Matter and George Floyd.
“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,” Howard Zlotkin said over a remote learning session with 15 students, according to NBC New York.
He added that students were glorifying criminals as heroes “because they’re black or because they got a bad story.”
One of the students recorded the rant using her cellphone and immediately showed the video to school officials. When she did not receive a response, she contacted NBC New York, which first reported on the story.
To the shock of students and parents, Zlotkin returned to the classroom Thursday. This time, his attacks became personal.
He reportedly told four black students the day before to write an essay on “why black lives should matter.” When student Timmia Williams refused to complete the assignment the next day, Zlotkin went off on a rant against Williams.
“I don’t think you can make a case. You know what, Timmia? You’re full of s–t too,” Zlotkin is heard saying in a second video.
Now Zlotkin, who teaches science at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, has been suspended from his job with pay, according to Mussab Ali, the president of the Jersey City Board of Education.
Zlotkin was also suspended with pay at his teaching gig as an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College.
Zlotkin told the New York Times he could not divulge too many details because of the investigation but said he would “love one day to give my side of the story.”
The suspended teacher added that the footage was a “very well-edited sound bite.”
NJ.com reported that Zlotkin had taught at William L. Dickinson High School for 20 years, teaching courses from landscape and design to biology and general science.