Don’t mix work and video games is a lesson one Brooklyn gym teacher learned the hard way. According to the New York Post, Brett Belsky who taught at MS 890 was fired for playing Fortnite with his students for months. Back in January 2018, the teacher overheard many students talking about Fortnite. In an effort to encourage them to do well in his class, he put up his Fortnite gamer tag on the board and told them he would play a few online matches with them. That was a violation, says the Department of Education. In March 2018 he played for about 20 minutes with two of his students, aged 11 and 12 respectively. The 11-year-old told his parent, who reported the incident to the school’s principal the very next day.
The teacher has had a clean record up until now
Belsky had been teaching for eight years and never even had so much as a write-up until now. He was reassigned to a Department of Education rubber room while the investigation was pending. Following that, they fired him this past fall. Belsky explained his actions with, “As a teacher, you reach out the best you can. These kids talk about video games. I said, ‘If you can get this work done, maybe I’ll play against you.’”
The probe found that he ultimately was “engaged in inappropriate internet conduct” with these two students. The Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District recommended that the Department of Education update their social media guidelines for employees to say that student-teacher gaming is a no-no. Sadly, it doesn’t matter at this point for Belsky, since he lost his job he loved so much over a 20-minute Fortnite gaming session. The Department of Education’s Spokesperson made that clear: “School employees shouldn’t interact with students online except for school-related reasons. Mr. Belsky was terminated based on his overall performance, including a review of this case.”
Belsky plans to appeal the termination in a hearing scheduled for later this month, stating that he was just trying to connect to his students through a platform they are into.