An father of an elementary school student allegedly assaulted a teacher during a disagreement over a mask mandate on the first day of school in California. Police said they are looking into the incident that occurred at Sutter Creek Elementary School last Wednesday. The district attorney will determine whether to file criminal charges against the parent. The superintendent of the Amador County Unified School District Torie Gibson, told BuzzFeed News that she thinks the father should be charged with a felony.
“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 concerning the incident.
“Assaulting a staff member will never be tolerated on any school campus, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she wrote.
In an interview, Gibson said that parents were “very divided” over the state-mandated policy that requires all students and employees to be masked when inside the school.
“We can have our differences. But we can’t have violence on our school campuses,” she said.
Gibson says the father of the student was running late to pick up his daughter and showed up about an hour after school had ended.
When his daughter and the principal both of whom had their masked on came out of the school building, “the dad went totally crazy,” Gibson said, after he noticed some staff members in the teachers’ lounge who were not masked. (The policy does not require teachers who are fully vaccinated to wear masks when there are no students around.)
Gibson didn’t 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 said. After the principal walked away, the father called the school district office and yelled at some of Gibson’s staff members about the mask mandate. He returned to the campus and went to the principal’s office, she said.
A teacher, who witnessed the previous verbal altercation, followed the father after realizing that the principal was alone in her office. The father stepped toward the principal while continuing to confront her over the mask mandate, Gibson said. Once the teacher stepped in the middle to protect the principal, the father allegedly struck the teacher multiple times, according to Gibson.
The father left the campus, another staff member called the police. The Sutter Creek Police Department said officers were dispatched to the school “regarding a disturbance between a parent and a staff member concerning COVID-19 procedures and facial maskings.”
The incident left the teacher 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 taken to the hospital and released later that night.
Gibson said she offered the teacher some time off after the “pretty traumatic” incident. However, the teacher was back at work on Thursday. “He’s all about the kids,” she said.
As for the parent, he will be getting a letter notifying him that he is not allowed on the school campus, Gibson said.
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