Jonathan, the janitor, had filmed the interaction with the principal because he felt she often picked on him.
As American workers strike across the country, the calls for a healthy work environment are getting louder. Many people have been sharing instances of their boss being rude, condescending towards them and one among them is Jonathan, a janitor at Webb Bridge Middle School. The middle school janitor was hauled up by the principal, Susan Opferman, for leaving his shift 10 minutes early but he informed her that he had started his shift earlier than usual. Jonathan secretly filmed the interaction with the principal of the school as he felt she often picked on him. The video showed the principal being rude and giving him a condescending lecture for leaving ten minutes before the shift ended. Jonathan captioned the video: "This is not how you talk to your employees."
Jonathan made it clear that he had started his shift earlier as some firefighters needed access to the school building, reported God.dailydot. Despite Jonathan going out of his way to help the fireman and start his shift early, the principal was annoyed that he wasn't available for the 10 minutes at the end of his shift. The video starts with Opferman repeatedly questioning what time he had left work. Even as Jonathan tries to answer and reason with the principal, she repeatedly cuts him off by repeating the question. Opferman appeared to talk to him like she usually deals with children at her school.
She even interrogates him in the third person. “Did your boss, Susan Opferman, tell you to start your hours early today?” she asks Jonathan, referring to his explanation that he had started his shift earlier. “I was not supposed to start my hours early today, but, like I was telling you, the fire people had to get inside,” said Jonathan. “They were sitting out there for almost an hour.”
Opferman then resorted to asking him who his boss was. Jonathan explains why he started early and ended early but she never pays attention and eventually says she's going to report the incident to HR. She says he could even be fired. Jonathan accuses Opferman of harassing and picking on him. “Every time Miss Opferman you always pick me out of the bunch. It seems like I’m being harassed because every time I come in here, I’m always in the meetings with you, and you always seem to be yelling and screaming at me, always telling me this, that, and the third, and it’s getting to that frustration point,” he can be heard saying. Opferman denies harassing him before playing the victim and accusing the janitor of yelling at her, which he wasn't doing.
Jonathan posted the video online where it viral. He then posted an update on the situation, explaining that he was asked to resign as a result of the video going viral. He hadn't been fired but he was barred from getting any other jobs in the school district. He also accused the district of a sustained harassment campaign against him to get him to resign from his job.
The video was posted on Reddit on the r/antiwork forum where many called out the principal. "The whole work until the dismissed thing is grade school bullsh*t," wrote one Redditor. Someone who taught at a public school said, "People who work in education have literally never been outside that environment since pre-school. They don't know how real people speak to each other in the real world and they're some of the most emotionally immature people I've ever met." One Redditor wrote, "Imagine your life is so shit that you have to validate yourself by harassing a school janitor for leaving 10 minutes early." One person accused the principal of being a racist. "Listen, this may offend some people, but this is a power-tripping racist. Her words, her phrasing, her mannerisms, this is 100% because he is black. My opinion, but I don't even think it's thinly veiled."