Rants as Threats

A New Jersey teacher is under investigation for what she said to kids at a park.

A Hamilton, New Jersey teacher told kids playing football in a closed park near her home that they were breaking the rules and should not be congregating. When they failed to leave, she became irate. They videoed her rant, which concluded with her telling them that she hopes they get the coronavirus and die a painful death. Well that escalated quickly didn’t it?

The superintendent of the school has said the incident is under investigation, and the mayor has said that he condemns threats. Investigation? Threats? What happened to free speech? There are limits to free speech; a person can be arrested for threats that put someone in fear of bodily injury. Telling a person you hope they die of a disease is certainly insensitive but would not rise to the level of a criminal threat. But a school district is within its rights to discipline a teacher for off duty inappropriate conduct that indicates poor judgment, although an appropriate conclusion for a single ill-considered rant is probably an apology.

From The Judge Group, I’m Amy E. Feldman for KYW News Radio.

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