A New York elementary school principal with a penchant for betting on horse racing has parents of his students aiming to get him fired.
By day, Steven Schwartz is principal at P.S. 24 in the Bronx, where he oversees students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
by night also by day, Schwartz tweets and blogs about betting on ponies.
According to the New York Post, parents and staff members have called on the Bronx Department of Education to “take action” against Schwartz.
Investigated for giving horse handicapping advice during the school day in 2017-18, Schwartz shut down his Twitter account.
But he launched a new account in the fall of 2018, tweeting “don’t call it a comeback,” and continued writing for TheDailyGallop.net.
He tweeted about horse betting hundreds of times, according to the New York Post, often just prior to or just after the closing school bell, indicating he probably worked on his handicapping during school hours.
The story quoted a staff member at the school who claimed parents are furious at Schwartz because some of the students are aware of his gambling, and they fear he is setting a bad example for their children.
Wrote the New York Post: “The week of April 28, when kids were scheduled to take annual state math tests, Schwartz tweeted, ‘Finishing work tonight’ — referencing a blog post he planned to write about his Kentucky Derby predictions.”
I’m not a father, so I’m not sure how I would feel if I had an 8-year-old son or daughter asking me if they could go bet their allowance money at the local racetrack because of their principal.
But sports betting is becoming commonplace within all types of media, and it seems disingenuous to blame the Twitter activity of one man for corrupting one’s children as far as gambling.
Also, I imagine the staff members and parents who are complaining have moments during the school day or their respective workdays when they post something to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, text their spouse or play a game on their phone.
I have no idea how much pressure the community is putting on the DOE to do something about Schwartz. But ignoring that dynamic, it seems like the appropriate thing to do is to tell Schwartz to knock it off during work hours.
One also has to wonder if this is really about their disapproval of Schwartz’ hobby, or whether they have an axe to grind with him personally and flat-out don’t like him.