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N.J. Teacher Caught On Camera Bullying Student Apologizes, But Asks For Respect

Steven Roth Takes Responsibility, Yet Says He Was Threatened By His Accuser
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Bullying Teacher

This N.J. school teacher is accused of bullying a special needs student. (credit: amatuer video)

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MERCERVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A teacher accused of bullying a student on tape told his side of the story on Monday as he tried to save his job.

And as CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reports, the teacher said he simply lost his temper.

The 15-year-old, who shot a video with a cell phone, told CBS 2 his teacher bullied him in his New Jersey classroom.

The following is an excerpt between the student and teacher Steven Roth:

Student: “Don’t call me special.”

Teacher: “What, oh my god, (expletive) … Dude, what are you here are for? What does the tile in front of that school say? Special education.”

“(He was) making me feel like I will never amount to anything,” the student said.

“I found it very hard to watch myself because that is not a normal action for myself,” Roth said.

On Monday, Roth took the stand in a hearing that will determine whether he’ll permanently lose his job.

“My conduct was very inappropriate. Things came out of my mouth the wrong way. I did not want them to come out like that,” he said.

Roth said his temper got the best of him with the student, who was referred to as ‘J.A.’ during the hearing.

“J.A. was being threatening towards me. He had his hands clinched and made some very threatening comments earlier,” Roth said.

Comments he said the student didn’t roll on.

“I don’t agree with what I did, but I am the teacher in that classroom and I do in some way need to be respected.”

The student’s family and attorney were also in court, but would not comment. However, the superintendent of the Bankbridge Regional School District did speak.

“I was professionally devastated by it,” the superintendent said.

“I am wrong for threatening him. I was wrong for using profanity. I am. I should never have done it. I should never have used it. And I will never use it again, obviously,” Roth added.

The decision as to whether Roth will be fired won’t come for at least a month. In the meantime, he is on leave with out pay.

Roth is scheduled to return to work on April 4.

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