A Pennsylvania middle school teacher was seen in a now-viral classroom photograph taping a mask to a student’s face – drawing outrage from the community and forcing the district to issue an apology.
The incident took place at Pennfield Middle School in Hatfield and a picture that captured it was shared Monday on Facebook by a group called “North Penn Stronger Together.”
“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 group urged the North Penn School District to take action and encouraged community members to voice their opinion at a Thursday night school board meeting.
Those commenting on the post were furious – calling for the teacher to be fired.
In a Wednesday statement obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the school apologized and said the ordeal was “being addressed with the” teacher.
“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 statement said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the teacher would face disciplinary action.
The student’s mother broke her silence in a Thursday statement to North Penn Now – saying the situation has devolved into her “worst nightmare.”
The mother, who remained anonymous, said in the statement that she never wanted the photo to gain national attention and had only agreed to share it with a local private group to garner support ahead of the board meeting.
“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 fumed.
“While I appreciate parents and groups alike coming to our defense, as stated above, what this has evolved into is exactly what I wanted to avoid.”