An assistant principal of an upstate high school in New York City has sparked outrage after he filmed himself as he joined the nightly Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests at Rochester. Steven Lysenko, a ninth-grade teacher at Spencerport High School, posted the clip on Facebook Live in which he screamed, "F**k the police!"
The BLM protests over the death of black man Daniel Prude, who lost consciousness after police held a hood over his head, have often turned violent over the past couple of days. In the video that has gone viral, Lysenko complained about officers targeting protesters even though "we didn't do anything but chant and sing."
Out of Anger
Lysenko looks quite annoyed and irritated with the behavior of the police during the BLM protests in the city. Lysenko, in the video clip, tells viewers that he has been on a peaceful protest when "our peacekeepers ended up shooting pepper spray at us for singing and chanting and telling them what a s***y a*** job they were doing". He then posted the clip on Facebook which immediately went viral.
Rochester has seen four nights of protests following the release of disturbing police video showing the arrest of Daniel Prude, who died in custody after his arrest in March.
Lysenko, wearing a Black Lives Matter, then goes on to shout: "They can f**k right off, America! F**k the police! F**k Rochester Police Department!" However, after the expletive-laden tirade, Lysenko then seems to have calmed himself. He signed off with a polite "thank you," according to the clip that started making rounds Sunday. Lysenko, who is the president of the local chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education, has also previously used his social media to stand with the BLM movement.
Not in Good Taste
Although Lysenko has reasons for his annoyance with the police, he was slammed my many on social media for using expletive language. After the footage went viral over the weekend, the school district took to Twitter on Saturday to apologize and say that the incident and Lysenko's behavior 'will be addressed as a confidential, personnel matter'.
"We apologize to our students, parents and community that you had to hear this language from one of our employees," the apology read. The school at the same time also cleared that it "stands in solidarity in support of racial equality and systemic change" and that "we further stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters."
However, several Twitter users slammed Lysenko for being irresponsible while making such comments and then positing it on social media. "You should be fired. AND you should never be allowed to have anything to do with the education of our youth," wrote one Twitter user in response to one of Lysenko's tweets. "You are a disgrace!"
"Any Spencerport student with a similar rant on social media would have consequences. This is not respectful and encourages hate. Fire him," another Twitter Jeff Belles wrote to the school district. But Lysenko also has won supporters with his comments and following the apology from his school district, more than 2,500 people appeared to have signed a Change.org petition demanding that he shouldn't be fired.
"He is setting a good example to the students at Spencerport showing us to fight for what we believe in. Swear words are just words and should not be a reason to be fired," the petition says. Lysenko later posted a Facebook video apologizing for using "police-centric and police-friendly language" in earlier discussions.