Not everyone is handling the stress of our current public health crisis well.
A New Jersey teacher provided an excellent example of this when she ranted at students who were playing football in a closed park, telling them she hoped they "die a long painful death."
The woman, who was later identified by several sources as Nicole Griggs, was filmed by one of the students after she began shouting at them from outside the park's fence.
Griggs teaches at Steinert High School in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, the school attended by several of the students.
She stopped to yell at the group, who were gathered in a closed public park, while walking her dog.
She began by admonishing them for being in the park, warning them that they could be arrested if the police showed up. Things quickly went downhill from there, however.
She first asks if she is:
"loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come."
Then one of the students asked:
"Wait, can we go over there?"
That seemed to be the breaking point for Griggs, as she quickly launched into a full blown rant.
"Parks closed. The whole area. 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 a** and save your life. But die, OK. I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death."
Social distancing is certainly a vital part of lessening the impact of the pandemic and keeping people alive, but shouting that you hope students die is not an effective way to enforce it.
Hamilton, NJ teacher caught on tape telling students she hopes they 'die' of coronavirus youtu.be
The Trentonian reported that Griggs lives near the park where the confrontation took place. She has apparently confronted others breaking social distancing protocols before, as well.
The students she confronted did acknowledge that they should not have been gathered in the park, but couldn't believe that a teacher had actually wished death upon them.
"When she said that, I was shocked. I didn't know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words."
Superintendent Scott Rocco said that he had been informed of the video, and that Griggs is currently being investigated for her behavior.
Mayor Jeff Martin said that he had not seen the video, but condemned threats and ill wishes, especially during the current crisis.
He said that nobody should be:
"wishing death or harm on people. This is a very serious thing."
"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 book The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger is available here.