California woman who purposely coughed on 1-year-old identified as special ed teacher, sought by police
The woman, unofficially identified as Nancy Norland, is believed to have coughed on the baby because of claims that the baby's mother did not follow social-distancing rules
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: A California woman who is wanted by the police for deliberately coughing on a baby's face has been identified by unofficial sources as a special education teacher with the Oak Grove School District, it has been revealed.
The disturbing incident, which the San Jose Police Department described as an assault, unfolded at a Yogurtland located at 5638 Cottle Road at around 5:30 pm on June 19 and was captured on the store's security camera.
In the 37-second video that was released by the authorities, the woman could be seen walking over to a stroller, lowering her mask, and coughing at least two times on the one-year-old boy, who was in the stroller a few feet behind her.
Police had called for the public's help in tracking down and bringing the woman to justice. She has now been identified as Nancy Norland, who is reportedly a special education teacher with the school district but is currently out of work.
In an interview with KGO-TV, Mireya Mora, the child's mother, said Norland got angry because she was too close to her in line and that she believes there was a racist motive behind the attack.
"Coughing on someone's face. She did it on purpose it's not like she did it on accident, oh cough, cough - no she purposely coughed on my son's face," she said. "It happened so quick I was in shock. She got close, she took off her mask, and she coughed three times super hard on my son's face."
"I believe this woman may be racist because the family in front of her is white. Me and my grandma are Hispanic and she started telling me about my distance and harassing me and my son once I started speaking Spanish to my grandma," she added.
In a statement obtained by Mercury News, Oak Grove School District Superintendent Jose Manzo confirmed he had been informed of the allegations against "one of our employees" but stopped short of officially identifying her.
"We do not tolerate conduct from any employee that compromises any child’s safety," he said. "The employee is currently off of work and not providing any services to our district students."
"There is no place in the Oak Grove School District for any employee who would deliberately cause harm to a child," the school district similarly said. "If the District receives confirmation from SJPD that the individual involved in the Yogurtland incident is our employee, we will take immediate action."
The district said it had received numerous threats of violence and damage to its schools in the wake of the incident. "We understand and share the feelings of anger around this incident," they said. "However, we ask everyone to remember that the mission of the Oak Grove School District is to serve children, including those from some of the most vulnerable populations in our San Jose community. Violence or damage to our students’ schools only serves to harm the very population that those who are emailing the District seek to protect: our kids."
San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia also refused to divulge details about the woman but said his detectives are following up on leads and have not made an arrest.
Anyone with further information about the alleged assault has been advised to call Detective Dan Bowman at 408-277-4161 or Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867.