In New Jersey, one deranged math teacher’s rant is going viral. The Steinert High School math teacher was caught on video screaming a death wish to students who were in the park, throwing football, hoping they “die a long, painful death” from the coronavirus.
The teacher was identified by multiple sources as Nicole Griggs, who has been a township teacher for the last 15 years and also taught middle school, according to the district website.
One of the teenagers, a freshman at Steinert, told The Trentonian that he and a group of school friends were playing football Thursday at the former Homedell School, on the 500 block of East Franklin Street, when Griggs stopped to admonish them from behind a chain-link fence.
One of the township students captured the encounter on Snapchat and sent it to friends.
Then another Steinert student posted the clip on TikTok, a social media platform that often features viral videos, with the caption, “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”
At first, Griggs, who appears to be wearing a gray sweatshirt and walking her dog, seems to be looking out for the teens by telling them the parks are closed because of the virus outbreak.
She asks them 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.”
She soon melts down when one of the teens asks, “Wait, can we go over there?”
The teacher goes so far as to tell the teens she doesn’t care if they put her on blast online.
“Parks closed. The whole area,” Griggs 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. 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.”
The video of the teacher wishing death upon the teens is another example of the bad behavior exhibited by some during the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy has taken to calling people who are charged for coughing on cops and claiming they’re infected, and committing other dumb acts “knuckleheads,” saying they belong in the hall of shame.
The Steinert freshman said he hasn’t had a class with Griggs, but several of his friends recognized her and sent pictures that looked just like the woman in the video.
A second source confirmed it’s Griggs, who did not return phone messages seeking comment, in the video.
Griggs lives on the 500 block of Redfern Street, a tenth of a mile away from the park and well within walking distance, according to property records.
Wishing infection and death upon people who aren’t following social distancing guidelines appears to be Griggs’ M.O.
In an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, she says: “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. 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 Trentonian confirmed the Facebook page belongs to Griggs.
The Steinert freshman said that Griggs threatened to call the cops on them, and that a cop actually showed up at the park but didn’t cite them and told them to go somewhere.
The Trentonian was unable to reach a Hamilton Township Police spokesman after hours Saturday to confirm whether officers were dispatched to the park.
The Steinert student said he and his friends now know they shouldn’t have been in the park and left soon after their frightening encounter with Griggs.
Regardless, he said he was shocked a teacher would wish death upon them.
“When she said that, I was shocked,” the Steinert student 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 not aware of the video or that it depicted a Hamilton teacher but condemned the teacher’s comments. No one, he said, should be “wishing death or harm on people.”
“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.”
The township has 724 total cases of the virus and 51 deaths, according to the township website. At least 170 people have recovered from the virus.
It is unclear whether Griggs will face disciplinary action for her comments.
Schools superintendent Scott Rocco said in a statement late Saturday the district was made aware of the video and will investigate.
“We will address the issue immediately,” he said.
The president of the Hamilton teachers union, Frank Gatto, had no comment for this story.
“I can’t comment on it,” he said Saturday night, “because I don’t know anything about it.”
Many people think that these arbitrary quarantines for healthy people are exactly the opposite of what the United States should be doing. But, with people like Griggs out there, they say expecting logic from the public is a pipe dream.