Belsky, who worked at MS 890, a middle school in Brooklyn, shared his “Fortnite” handle with students after hearing them talk about video games. He offered to play with them if they completed their work.
“Fortnite” is the mega-popular, battle royale game that’s free to play from Epic Games.
“As a teacher, you reach out the best you can. These kids talk about video games,” Belsky said. “I said, ‘If you can get this work done, maybe I’ll play against you.’”
Belsky claimed that he also told the students to get parental consent before playing with him.
Belsky played “Fortnite” for about 20 minutes with two students, aged 11 and 12 at the time, information which the New York Post credits to a city report.
The 11-year-old told his father about it, which led to the father reporting it to the principal.
Belsky was reassigned to a “rubber room,” which is where the Department of Education (DOE) in New York sends teachers awaiting disciplinary hearings, until he was fired in the fall of 2018 for engaging in “inappropriate internet conduct” with students.
“School employees shouldn’t interact with students online except for school-related reasons,” a DOE spokesman said in a statement to The New York Post. “Mr. Belsky was terminated based on his overall performance, including a review of this case.”
Belsky plans to appeal the termination later this month.
“[“Fortnite”] is insanely popular with [students]. I have to figure out a way to reach these kids, to get them to do their work,” Belsky said. “I love what I do. I am a good teacher.”