If you've got a kid who plays video games, then you are probably very aware of just how popular the game Fortnite is at the moment. It's EVERYWHERE. It's the most popular video game on the planet right now! Even if you don't have a gamer kid, you've most likely at least about it. But parents whose kids play the game understand the issue of trying to get their kids to do literally anything else. Some parents play with their kids as a way to connect with them and their shared interests. Other parents use it as a reward and/or punishment (letting their kids play for good behavior or grades, and taking away access when there's a problem).
Love it or hate it, Fortnite is (as the youth says) the business. So when a gym teacher in Brooklyn overheard his students talking about the game, he figured playing it with them would be a good way to motivate and connect with the kids! But good intentions can lead you stray, and this gym teacher's gaming sesh ended up costing him his job.
Brett Belsky, 29, was a gym teacher at MS 890 in Brooklyn, New York. In January 2018, he heard his students talking about playing Fortnite, and shared his online handle with the class. He told them he would play a few matches with them if they did well in class. According to Belsky, he also told them to get parental consent before they took him up on the offer. Two of his students ended up agreeing, and in March of 2018, Belsky played the game for about 20 minutes with the 11- and 12-year old students. The 11-year-old mentioned the session to his dad, who then reported it to the principal.
Belsky was reassigned pending an investigation, and was terminated from his position in the fall. Playing online games with students violates the Social Media Guidelines laid out by the New York City School District, and the Fortnite gaming sessions resulted in the loss of his job.
Belsky acknowledges that he probably should have run his idea by administrators before presenting it to his students, but maintains that he's a good teacher who was just trying to connect with his students on their level. He plans to appeal the firing.