New Jersey Teacher Fired After Saying the N-Word and Having a Meltdown
Vincent Serpico told the students that he wouldn't get in trouble for the tirade "because nobody cares."
Vincent Serpico, a teacher who taught at Piscataway High School since 2009, heard music on a boom box in a boys' bathroom. He deemed the lyrics "offensive" and ended up going off on special education students citing the song by yelling the the N-word and profanities. He has been fired.
The incident occurred on May 8 of this year. After the bathroom incident, Serpico was in his class as the students were talking and laughing about what had happened involving another student and the teacher.
Serpico got upset again and proceeded to get in the teen's face shouting at him. He was so close to the student that he was forced to get up from his seat.
"I'm tired of this sh-t you pull every day," the instructor said in a video, which was taken by at least five students, "I go in the bathroom I hear n-word, n-word, n-word. This is all I hear all day."
One student was so upset she asked to leave the class to see a counselor. He allowed her to leave. Serpico explained that he wasn't directing the words at anyone but was simply repeating what he had heard in the bathroom.
He, then told the students, that he wouldn't get in trouble for the tirade "because nobody cares."
The students' videos went viral, sparking anger from parents. Serpico had problems in the classroom previously. He had previously been disciplined for referring to students as "idiots."
Parents complained to Teresa Rafferty, assistant superintendent of the Piscataway School District. Earlier this month, an arbitrator for the district determined that Serpico should be fired for his behavior.
"The Piscataway School District is pleased that the arbitrator affirmed our decision to file tenure charges against Mr. Serpico," Rafferty said Wednesday, according to MyCentralNewJersey.com. "A successful learning environment includes respect and discipline among students and staff. The arbitrator completely accepted the district's position, and his decision regarding Mr. Serpico's conduct speaks for itself."
"I am just tired of saying the same stuff, numerous times, everyday for X amount of years," Serpico testified. "[The students] got the best of me. I'm sorry I even did that."
John Sands, the arbitrator, wrote that Serpico's rant "served no legitimate pedagogical purpose" and that there was no reason for him to continue teaching.
"Those words…have nothing at all to do with mathematics and, with a few legitimate exceptions, have no place in a classroom," Sands wrote, adding that the rant was "destructive of what special education students need to hear."
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"I am an intelligent Black woman that has made a seat at the table," Karla Ferguson told DiversityInc. "My influence matters and that scares those that have to resort to fear tactics."
During Miami Art Week, one of the city's busiest times of the year, a Black-owned art gallery in Little Haiti was vandalized with a spray-painted swastika and profanity.
Karla Ferguson, owner of Yeelen Gallery, realized on Saturday morning there was a hate symbol defacing the outside of the building.
"An officer was actually parked outside the building and I went up to his squad car and told him that he had to take a look," Ferguson told DiversityInc. "He was visibly concerned and sympathetic to what it represented.
"I was told by the officer that this was likely going to be seen as a hate crime as the words 'destroy,' 'f**k' and the swastika were visible."
Ferguson, who is also an attorney, is well known in the area for creating a space to celebrate artists of color that the traditional art world usually doesn't include. She said she has "taken the business to the next level," now known as the Yeelen Group.
"Yeelen promotes diversity we tell the stories of marginalized groups, we stand for women's empowerment, we tell the stories from an African Diaspora perspective, LGBTQ rights and civil rights in general are represented when it comes to our exhibition programming," explained Ferguson.
"For the hateful that don't feel that we all deserve to be treated with respect, that don't feel civil rights are to be upheld we could be seen as a threat. We are about valuing marginalized people and showing the worth and humanity of their contributions to society."
Karla Ferguson, CEO, Yeelen Group
This is the first time a symbol of hate and threats have been directed toward her business. As Miami Art Week brings people all over the country into the area, it could have been locals or an outside influence.
Ferguson, whose business headquarters has been in Little Haiti since 2013, chose the neighborhood that is an area of Caribbean immigrants and locally owned shops, before gentrification started to occur.
Her activism through art and consulting is "aimed at providing exhibition and economic opportunities for all artists and particularly those that ask the tough questions, those that challenge our thinking and question inequities."
As a Black woman and an activist, Ferguson said being confronted with hate during a time when it's on the rise across the country only "reinforces that what I do is important, that I am on the right path."
Last month, in Los Angeles, four swastikas were found painted across the face of a Crenshaw mural depicting Black women.
"I am an intelligent Black woman that has made a seat at the table," Ferguson said. "My influence matters and that scares those that have to resort to fear tactics. I am the immigrant, the American Dream and there are people in our society that would love nothing more than to roll back the hands of time to when those that looked like me were considered three-fifths a human by law."
The difficult part for Ferguson was explaining the symbol of hate to her young daughters.
"They were upset; it makes them feel unsafe," she said. "I had to explain to my youngest what a swastika is and what it stands for. I reminded her that there are people who believe that one type of person is superior to others and that such thinking is wrong and ignorant. I told them that their ancestors survived far worse to make their lives possible and that we will continue to fight oppression and hold our heads up high while we do it.
"They know that I'm a fighter and they also know that they are as well, so we fight, we will continue to thrive, we Boss up."
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Instagram post of Gabbana describing China as a "country of s***" follows a racist promotional video. Store closings, product purges and "not me" protests outside stores going strong. Nice job, fellas.
Dolce & Gabbana is facing backlash from racist ads that promoted a Shanghai fashion show featuring the luxury brand's collection. And, racist comments posted on co-founder Stefano Gabbana's personal Instagram account have caused celebrities to withdraw support for the brand.
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A Black FedEx driver, Timothy Warren, was justified in punching Joseph Magnuson after he called him a "f***ing ni**er" and tried to hit Warren first, according to prosecutors in Multnomah County, Oregon.
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