N.J. School Athletic Director Sorry for Calling Hitler ‘Good Leader’

March 20, 2019
Adolph Hitler giving a speech around 1925

An athletic director at a New Jersey high school apologized on Tuesday for calling Adolf Hitler a “good leader” in a presentation.

Joe Piro, the athletic director of Nutley High School in Essex, New Jersey, gave the presentation at a Madison High School assembly on March 16 about unity and leadership, which featured a slide of pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Hitler together. Piro issued an apology over the matter.

“My intentions during the presentation were to make a point that a leader could have strong leadership skills and influence people in a negative way,” Piro said. “As a 20-year educator who has worked with a wide variety of students that come from very diverse and unique backgrounds, I fully understand and recognize that Adolf Hitler was an evil man who acted in a horrific manner.”

Piro added that he would remove the Hitler reference from future presentations.

In a March 17 letter to parents, Madison High School Superintendent Mark Schwarz wrote, “It was unnecessarily provocative and insensitive for the speaker to include the image of a criminal whose legacy includes the systematic torture and slaughter of millions of Jews, the disabled, and others in Eastern Europe.”

“If the speaker intended to highlight an example of an effective leader with misguided intentions, a less emotionally-charged example would have been more effective and appropriate,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz added that the school would vet any presentations from outside speakers going forward.

Julie Glazer, the superintendent of Nutley Public Schools, called Piro’s Hitler reference “insensitive” in a statement.

“We believe in using this incident as an opportunity to highlight cultural responsiveness and sensitivity within our schools, curriculum and community,” Glazer said.

A spokesperson for the Nutley district declined to comment to The Daily Caller when asked if they would discipline Piro.

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