The Washington, D.C., public school librarian under fire for recently forcing third-graders to re-enact the Holocaust is reportedly a failed Democratic school board candidate from New Jersey who has been convicted of fraud and charged with several counts of animal abuse.
Kimberlynn Jurkowski, 61, was placed on leave this week after news broke that she "traumatized" young children by making them role-play simulated shootings and gas chamber deaths during a library lesson last Friday. One student was even forced to play murderous tyrant Adolf Hitler, and others re-enacted digging mass graves while the librarian made anti-Semitic comments and instructed the children not to tell their parents about the lesson.
But the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that Jurkowski should have been a controversial hire for the D.C. public school system long before the incident, given her sketchy background, which included defrauding the state of New Jersey out of nearly $24,000.
While serving as a school librarian in Atlantic City, Jurkowski engaged in a tutoring scam by taking advantage of the district's agreement to pay for the tutoring of Jurkowski's two children. After the tutoring ended, she and the tutor continued to bill the district for another six months. The two were eventually caught, and Jurkowski was convicted of fraud.
During her time in New Jersey, Jurkowski also ran unsuccessfully for a local school board position, according to a post on her Twitter account telling of her candidacy. But the Free Beacon reported on Tuesday that "there is no record of Jurkowski serving on the school board for Hamilton Township in Atlantic County, where she says she ran for office."
Jurkowski also reportedly lost her New Jersey teaching license in 2015.
Then, in 2019, she was charged with four counts of animal cruelty after she abandoned five dogs outside a dilapidated house in freezing temperatures. One of the dogs, a Rottweiler named Poseidon, died.
According to a report from Pet Rescue, Jurkowski had "left the property and moved to another town," abandoning the animals on a "property [that] was completely run down" with "dilapidated buildings, garbage, and dogs in pens with sheets of plywood leaning against a fence to act as shelter."
Below is one of the police bodycam videos from when an officer responded to the property.
In response to requests for comment from the Washington Post this week, D.C. Public Schools would not say whether it knew about Jurkowski's criminal record during her hiring process.
Though at a news conference Monday, Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee claimed, “We do a thorough background check on all of our employees when they are hired," adding, "We’re doing an investigation into the hiring process specifically to the staff member.”