Teacher Fired For Playing 'Fortnite' With Students Suing To Get Job Back
A Brooklyn gym teacher who was fired from his job for playing Fortnite with his students last month is going for victory royale and is trying to sue to get his job back.
According to The Post, Brett Belsky, a 29-year-old gym teacher at MS 890, attempted to reach out to his students back in January 2018 by offering to play matches with them on Xbox One if they did well in class.
"As a teacher, you reach out the best you can," said Belsky. "These kids talk about video games, I said, 'If you can get this work done, maybe I'll play against you.'"
According to the teacher, the idea interested some of his students, who he advised to get "parental consent" before logging in and trying to get some victory royales with him.
And as you would expect any good teacher to do, Belsky followed through on his promise, and played the battle royale game for 20 minutes with two of his students in March 2018. However, one of these students brought up the session to his father, who then reported it to the school's principal. And not longer after, Belsky was out of a job, but that may be changing soon.
In his lawsuit against the Department of Education, the former teacher said he was simply doing his job as a great educator.
"As any great educator would do, Mr. Belsky sought the best ways to motivate and connect with his students," reads the lawsuit. "In the Spring of the 2017-2018 school year, Mr. Belsky overheard his students talking about an internationally popular videogame called 'Fortnite.'"
The lawsuit continues:
"At the same time, he found some of these students were not focusing on their school work. In sum and substance, he stated to them '…if you pay attention, and do well in class, you could play against me online,'"
"He wrote his username for the popular game on the classroom board. He also discussed this tactic, and another involving giving an autographed hockey puck as a reward, with the mother of 'Student A,' at a parent teacher conference."
Belsky claims he was unfairly fired by the Education Department, and notes that probes into the case yielded nothing. And so rather -- according to the lawsuit -- the department "looked to build a false narrative about Mr. Belsky's conduct outside the 'games for grades' investigation."
"The report did not indicate that anything inappropriate took place between Mr. Belsky and the student. In fact, when asked about Mr. Belsky's tactics with her son, the SCI Report indicated, 'Mother A felt this conduct was appropriate and motivational,'" added the filing.
The former gym teacher further points out that the DOE couldn't properly categorize his alleged misconduct, because such guidelines don't exist for something like this.
Belsky is requesting that the judge order the DOE to renew his teaching license that he was stripped of, erase the allegations from his records, give him his job back, and pay his attorney fees and back pay.
At the moment of publishing, the case is still ongoing, but the DOE did provide a statement on the matter:
"Mr. Belsky was terminated based on his overall performance, including a review of this case. We will review the lawsuit."
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