A woman identified as a math teacher at a New Jersey high school recently told students playing in a closed park that she wished them “a long, painful death” from the coronavirus.
The incident was captured on a cell phone camera and later made the rounds on social media.
Based upon comments from the students, the woman was identified by The Trentonian as Nicole Griggs, who according to the website of Steinert-Hamilton High East, has been teaching in the area at the middle school and high school level for 15 years.
The Trentonian reports that one of the students, whose name was not used, said he and some friends were playing football on the field of a former school when the incident took place. The teens gathered despite lockdown orders in place across New Jersey.
The recording of the incident shows the woman asking the students if she was “loud enough so you can hear me over your music? Park’s closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”
After the initial confrontation, one youth asked, “Wait, can we go over there?”
According to The Trentonian, that was when the teacher erupted.
“Park’s closed. The whole area. Get it through your thick head. You are the reason we are in this situation. You are the problem, not the solution,” she said.
She continued to scream at the teens, who were recording the incident.
“Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media. You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your a– and save your life,” she said.
She then wished the students would die.
“But die, OK? I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death,” she said.
One student said that Griggs threatened to call the police on them, and that a police officer did come by. The student said they were not arrested but were told to leave the area.
The Trentonian reported Griggs previously posted on a Facebook page she appears to operate that she “wished illness” on a couple removing caution tape from a jungle gym so their child could use it.
“I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents,” the post said.
Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin said he was not aware of the incident or video, but said no one ought to be “wishing death or harm on people.”
“This is a very serious thing,” he said. “We’ve got at least 50 people who have actually died from it, 50 families. It’s not something to joke around about. Teacher or not, it’s unacceptable.”
School superintendent Scott Rocco said Saturday that the district will investigate the incident.
“We will address the issue immediately,” he said.
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