Parents call for Pennsylvania middle school teacher to be fired taping a mask to a student’s face 

Furious parents are calling for Pennsylvania middle school teacher to be fired after she was photographed taping a mask to a student’s face.

On Monday, a Facebook group called ‘North Penn Stronger Together’ shared a picture of a teacher at Pennfield Middle School in Hatfield taping a mask onto male student’s face. The student’s age or grade are not known.  

A parent elaborated on what was going on in the photo, commenting that the teacher placed masking tape on the child’s face without asking for consent, leaving him ‘mortified’ and resulted in him being made fun of for the rest of the day. 

Outraged parents in the comment section demanded North Penn School District to respond, even calling on the district to fire the teacher in the photo. The teacher has not been publicly identified.

‘Pro-mask or anti-mask, I hope we can all agree that taping masks to children’s faces crosses the LINE. This was not a joke for the child or the parents,’ the post said. 

The district had put out a statement on Wednesday in response to the post, which has garnered more than 500 comments and nearly 300 shares in just the last week, calling the teacher’s actions ‘unacceptable.’

On Thursday, the mother of the child in the photo, who chose to remain anonymous, said the national attention the photo has garnered is ‘like a scene from my worst nightmare’ and that she only intended to share the photo with the local private group ahead of an upcoming board meeting. 

A Facebook group called ‘North Penn Stronger Together’ shared a picture of a teacher at Pennfield Middle School taping a mask onto male student’s face

The North Penn School District responded to the post, which has garnered over 500 comments in the last week, calling the teacher's actions 'unacceptable'

The North Penn School District responded to the post, which has garnered over 500 comments in the last week, calling the teacher’s actions ‘unacceptable’

The district said in a statement: ‘An image taken in one of our classrooms last week and circulating on social media does not represent the universal values that the North Penn School District strives to instill in both our students and staff. 

‘After an immediate investigation, it was determined that while the incident was isolated and no malice was intended, the actions of the teacher were entirely inappropriate and unacceptable, no matter the context.’

The district added that ‘the matter is serious and it is being addressed with the employee’ but did not elaborate on whether the teacher would face any disciplinary action.  

‘Certain individuals felt compelled to take matters into their own hands, including contacting local authorities and disseminating this image of my son to various media outlets,’ the mother exclusively told NorthPennNow.com, which said it vetted her identity. 

She said she never gave anyone permission to share the photo and while she understands the good intentions the parents may have, the situation has ‘evolved into exactly what I wanted to avoid.’  

‘If I had any idea that this would evolve to such a level, I would never have permitted it to be shared with that private group,’ she said.

Classrooms across America are struggling to keep up with in-person learning because of COVID outbreaks and mask mandates, with many school districts requiring students and teachers now wear N95 or KN95 masks. Some districts are even returning to remote learning. 

Masking children has become a hot button issue in recent months. Vaccines are only available for children aged five and up, with many states encouraging children younger than that to don the face coverings, even though they are at very low risk of a serious or fatal COVID infection. 

The recent spike in COVID cases has led to short staffing in schools across the nation, leading New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to ask National Guard members and state employees to volunteer to become licensed substitute teachers or child care workers in order to keep schools and day care centers open.

The desperate search for substitute teachers comes as the latest Omicron surge has caused a huge number of Americans to miss work.

The Washington Post reported that between December 29 and January 10 approximately 8.8 million workers reported not working because they were sick with the coronavirus or caring for someone who was, according to data from the Census Bureau.

That figure is nearly triple the levels from the first two weeks of December, before Omicron cases began to peak and were also the highest numbers since the Census Bureau began tracking in April 2020. 

Meanwhile, in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that secondary school students no longer need to wear masks in classrooms. The requirement to wear masks in corridors and other communal areas will end on January 27.

Parents expressed anger over the incident, which took place at Pennfield Middle School, (pictured)  calling on the teacher to be fired

Parents expressed anger over the incident, which took place at Pennfield Middle School, (pictured)  calling on the teacher to be fired 

The incident comes off the heels of a California Christian preschool director being  barred from ever working with children again after she ‘failed to encourage’ two-year-olds to wear face masks in class.

Tiffany McHugh, the director of Foothills Christian Church Preschool in San Diego, had her license stripped after the Department of Social Services shut down the preschool because McHugh couldn’t get students to keep their masks on.

‘We were coming up against a lot of parents who didn’t want their children to be masked that young,’ McHugh told CBS 8.

‘There were a lot of children who were just too young to wear masks, they pull them off. It’s really difficult.’

Social Services began visiting the school in September following a parent complaint about the mask policy. In November, the school was cleared of the violation, but a couple of weeks later, the department came back for a routine check-in and found students not wearing masks again.

The department cited that the preschool failed to make sure employees were wearing a mask, in addition to ‘not encouraging’ students to do so. 

It also reportedly said that McHugh stopped state workers from inspecting the building to give employees and students time to put on a mask.

The department alleged that the school failed to ‘regularly and frequently prompt and encourage students two years and older to wear face coverings at all times.’

In addition, the department took away her license forever and she will no longer be allowed to work with children again.

Across the pond in the U.K., schools are in an open rebellion against the government over masks after more than 100 head teachers wrote to parents warning that children must continue wearing face coverings in classrooms.

Union bosses have accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of flouting his ‘duty of care’ to teachers after he announced an easing of COVID curbs, from work-from-home guidance to face coverings and COVID isolation, as the Omicron wave subsides. 

Schools are defying the government’s anti-mask guidance and telling parents that pupils must continue to wear face coverings.

And it has now emerged that ministers will not stop schools from forcing children to wear face coverings.

Head teachers across the U.K. say that they are struggling either with staff shortages or high rates of COVID in the local community, and argue that masks in classrooms will stem the spread of the virus.

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