A Brooklyn teacher was having trouble finding a way to have his students pay more attention in class when he started to implement a “games-for-grades” program that would allow students to play Fortnite with the teacher in return for good grades.
Brett Belsky was a gym teacher at a Brooklyn school and began to notice that his students’ grades were declining while the children’s interest in Fortnite began to increase.
Belsky was a fan of Fortnite himself and thought of an idea to offer students with good grades the opportunity to play the battle royale game with their teacher on Xbox Live.
The teacher put his Xbox Live Gamertag on the board for students to write down.
““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.’” – via NYPost.
In March 2018, Belsky played about 20 minutes of Fortnite with two students, ages 11 and 12, when the 11-year-old mentioned the gaming session to his parents.
The 11-year old’s parents then went to the school board the next day by reporting the gaming session to the school’s principal.
Belsky was subsequently reassigned to the DOE “rubber room” in April, and then was fired later in the fall of 2018.
The Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District suggested that the school clearly explains the “Social Media Guidelines” to students and teacher, to make sure that teacher-student gaming is strictly prohibited.
“This game is insanely popular with them. I have to figure out a way to reach these kids, to get them to do their work. I love what I do. I am a good teacher.” – via NYPost.
Belsky did admit that he should have spoken with “higher-ups” before implementing the “games-for-grades” program.
He said he will be appealing the firing and was just trying to “connect with the younger generation”.