A high school math teacher in New Jersey, apparently furious that some teenagers were playing football in a local park despite the state’s stay-at-home orders, yelled at them, starting with a warning that they would get arrested and crescendoing to shouting, “I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”
The woman, identified by The Trentonian as Steinert High School staffer Nicole Griggs, stood behind a chain link fence as she shouted, “Am I screaming loud enough that you can hear me over her music? Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”
One of the teenage boys responded by asking if they could go to another location, prompting Griggs to yell, “Parks 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.” The incident reportedly occurred at the former Homedell School.
Griggs dismissed the fact that one of the boys was videotaping the incident, yelling, “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. But die, OK. I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”
The boys went ahead and shared the footage on Snapchat and Tik Tok, writing on Tik Tok, “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.” One of the boys later stated, “When she said that, I was shocked. I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”
On a Facebook page under the alias “Nikki Leigh,” a page that the Trentonian reported belonged to Griggs, a post dated April 6 stated, “We are surrounded by idiots!!!!!! Rode our bikes near Kuser Park this afternoon and what to [sic] we see but a younger couple with their daughter maybe 2/3 years old UNDOING the caution tape around the jungle gym so she could slide. I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents. Their response: ‘We were going to put it back.’”
According to the school district website, Griggs stated she had “been teaching in Hamilton for 15 years at the secondary level, both middle school and high school. I was born and raised and have lived in Hamilton all my life.”
Mayor Jeff Martin of Hamilton Township responded to the incident, stating, “This is a very serious thing. 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.” Schools superintendent Scott Rocco added, “We will address the issue immediately.”
The Daily Mail noted, “Hamilton Township has 724 COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths. New Jersey has more than 100,000 cases and at least 5,800 deaths.”
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