Student secretly records months of teacher's verbal abuse

A Minnesota teacher is under investigation by the school district after a student's secret recordings revealed signs of verbal abuse.

WCCO reports that the student recorded the seventh-grade science teacher at Hibbing High School for months.

He can be heard on cellphone video insulting and degrading students, including rants about their intelligence and looks.

"That's number 12. That's where we're going to start 15 minutes later. Dipstick," Dan Gotz says in one of the recordings.

On a different day, he told a student, "You build them up in the little muscle cells that you have, but in [his] case, not a whole lot of it. Scrawny little toothpicks hanging out of his shirt."

He even insulted the students' families.

"You're a good kid. Could you please stay that way? Smart, responsible ... then there's that thing," Gotz said. "Your mom and dad had a bad day or something on that day."

Education attorney Meg Kane represents the families who came forward about the teacher's behavior.

"I was just shocked," Kane said.

One student grew tired of listening to the insults, and worked for weeks recording the teacher to prove it.

"You wonder why you bug the living crap out of people," Gotz was recorded saying.

"This seventh-grade young man recognized how inappropriate this was, was so offended by it and even though he wasn't the subject, he had the courage to record those things," Kane said.

Kane sent a letter to the Hibbings School District detailing what she calls a "pattern of verbal and emotional abusive remarks" - including this one about a mother's supposed true feelings.

"She might tell you she loves you, but deep in her soul she does not for having a son like you. She is crying on the inside," Gotz said.

The letter asks the superintendent to immediately "remove Mr. Gotz from teaching responsibilities" for this "outrageous and offensive misconduct."

"He routinely refers to students as idiots and dipsticks," Kane said. "This was pervasive, this was persistent."

Gotz was placed on paid administrative leave last week.

Kane and the parents can't help but wonder what effect months of listening to the attacks will have on the students.

"They barely know themselves, and to have that kind of message drip, drip, drip into their heads is really highly problematic in my opinion," she said.

A student reported Gotz months ago, but his parents say the vice principal then observed Gotz for a day only to tell them that he was a "great teacher."

"Children have to come first, and that isn't the case in this situation," Kane said.

In her letter, Kane offers to let the school district listen to the recordings, but she has yet to hear back from them.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.