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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."

The Conversation (2)
Mehki17 Dec, 2018

Get another job, dude.

votetocorrect01 Dec, 2018
It took this long for this story to see the light of day? Vincent Serpico should have been immediately fired and story placed in the news.

Update: White Man Who Pulled Gun on Black Teens Could Face Hate Crime Charges

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Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement

"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.

Screen shot of Instagram video by Kaya Taitano

UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.

Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.

Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four protesters who identify themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.

"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.

Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''

But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.

"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."

Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.

ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.

The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.

One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:

Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.

Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.

Phillips, a Vietnam Era veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:

"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"

He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."

He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."

Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: browe@covcath.org).

An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:

"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.

"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.

"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.

Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:

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"This is a huge victory for the survivors who came forward, both in 'Surviving R. Kelly' and before, and all young Black women, who are systematically undervalued in our society," said Arisha Hatch of Color of Change.


R. Kelly was removed from RCA Records' website on Friday, but no official statement has been made by the record label.

Sony and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, according to a Billboard report. The "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary and subsequent backlash from activists, music fans, and fellow music artists seems to have taken its toll, after more than 25 years of accusations of sexual and physical abuse.

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David Steven Bell's attorney said he wasn't motivated by anything other than defending himself, but nothing spells racist like referring to a group of Black girls as "a pack of youth who trapped and surrounded" his client.

David Steven Bell, 51, is home with his family after punching an 11-year-old Black child in the face this past weekend in an Asheville mall. He was arrested, charged with three counts of assault and released in about a 24-hour period. His court date is Feb. 5.

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