In California, a father of an elementary student allegedly assaulted a teacher during a heated argument over a mask mandate in school, a superintendent has said.
According to Buzzfeed news, the police are currently investigating the incident that happened at Sutter Creek Elementary School on Wednesday.
After reviewing the case, the district attorney will then decide whether they will press charges against the involved parent.
Torie Gibson, the Amador County Unified School District superintendent, told BuzzFeed News that she believes the father should be charged accordingly.
“A parent took it upon himself to verbally assault a principal that led to a serious physical altercation between him and a teacher as the teacher intended to protect the principal,” Gibson wrote in a letter to families informing them about the assault. “Assaulting a staff member will never be tolerated on any school campus, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Gibson said that parents were “very divided” over California’s mask policy that requires all students and staff members to wear face coverings even when indoors.
“We can have our differences,” Gibson said. “But we can’t have violence on our school campuses.”
Gibson said that the student’s father was running late to pick up his daughter and showed up about an hour after school had ended on Wednesday.
When his daughter and the principal — both of whom were masked — came out of the school building, ‘the dad went totally crazy’ after he saw some staff members in the teachers’ lounge who were not masked. (The state’s policy does not require teachers who are fully vaccinated to wear masks when there are no students around.)
While Gibson did not personally witness the incident, she was told that the father was shouting at the principal about why his daughter had to wear a mask and that there were “double standards.”
He said things like “kids are treated like animals,” Gibson added.
When the principal walked away, the father called the school district office and yelled at some of Gibson’s staff members about the mask mandate.
The irate father then returned to the campus and went to the principal’s office, Gibson said.
A male teacher, who had witnessed the previous verbal altercation, followed the parent after realizing that the principal was alone in her office.
The father then stepped toward the principal while continuing to confront her over the mask mandate, Gibson said.
When the teacher stepped in the middle to protect the principal, the father allegedly beat the teacher multiple times, Gibson.
After the father had left the school campus, another staff member called and reported the incident to the police.
According to the Sutter Creek Police Department, the officers were dispatched to the school “regarding a disturbance between a parent and a staff member concerning COVID-19 procedures and facial maskings.”
Meanwhile, the teacher ended up with a “couple of lacerations to his face and head, bruising on his face, and a large knot at the back of his head,” Gibson said. He was later on taken to the hospital and released that night.
According to Gibson, she offered the concerned teacher some time off after the “pretty traumatic” incident, but he was back at work on Thursday.
“He’s all about the kids,” Gibson said.
As for the father, he will be getting a letter notifying him that he is not allowed on the school campus, Gibson told Buzzfeed News.
Gibson said that the incident has left the school staff feeling “unsettled,” and that they’re worried and fearful. Adding that the threatening statements over masks mandates from the community have been turned over to the police.
In Gibson’s letter to the families, she reminded them that the schools were not the ones making the rules, but they were required to enforce them to keep schools open.
“We know emotions are high and conversations are intense,” Gibson wrote. “I beg that we do our best to set all feelings aside and look at what is best for students.”
In her letter, Gibson encouraged the parents to not let their emotions get the best of them.
“If I ask nothing more of you this school year it is this,” she wrote. “Take a breath, pause, listen, and walk away if necessary.”
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