A New Jersey high school math teacher has been caught on video yelling at a group of teens playing football in a park that they should “die a long, painful death” from the coronavirus, according to a report.
The teacher at Steinert High School in Hamilton Township was identified by several sources as Nicole Griggs, who has taught in the district for the past 15 years, according to The Trentonian.
One of the kids allegedly targeted by the teacher, a freshman at the school, told the news outlet that he and his pals were playing Thursday on East Franklin Street when she screamed at them from behind a fence.
The encounter was captured by another student and shared on Snapchat, the newspaper reported.
The clip was later posted on TikTok along with the caption, “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”
In the footage, the woman – clad in a gray sweatshirt and walking her dog — tells the children that the parks are closed because of the pandemic.
She then asks the teens if they need her to scream the warning “loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed! You will get arrested if the cops come!”
One of the kids asks, “Wait, can we go over there?”
At that point, she ramps up her diatribe and tells the group she doesn’t care if they put her online.
“Parks closed! The whole area,” she says. “Get it through your thick head! You are the reason we are in this situation. You are the problem, not the solution. Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media!” she says.
“You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, OK. I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death!”
Several students recognized the woman as Griggs and sent images that looked just like the woman in the shocking footage, The Trentonian reported.
A second source confirmed the woman is Griggs, who did not return phone messages seeking comment by the newspaper.
The teacher lives on Redfern Street, a tenth of a mile away from the park, according to property records cited by The Trentonian.
The teacher has apparently gone after people who weren’t following social distancing guidelines before, the news outlet reported.
“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,” read an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, according to the paper.
“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,’” the post said, according to The Trentonian, which said to confirmed the Facebook page belongs to Griggs.
The Steinert freshman told the paper that a cop showed up at the park and told the kids to leave.
He said he and his pals realized they shouldn’t have been in the park and left soon after the frightening incident – but expressed shock that a teacher would wish death upon them.
“When she said that, I was shocked,” he said. “I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”
Mayor Jeff Martin said he was unaware of the clip or that it depicted a local teacher — but he condemned her comments.
No one should be “wishing death or harm on people,” Martin told The Trentonian.
“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.”
Schools Superintendent Scott Rocco said the district was made aware of the video and will investigate.
“We will address the issue immediately,” he told the paper in a statement Saturday.
Teachers union chief Frank Gatto said: “I can’t comment on it because I don’t know anything about it.”