Pennsylvania school apologizes after teacher seen taping mask to student's face in viral pic
A photo circulated on social media showing a Pennsylvania middle school teacher taping a mask to a student's face caused outrage from the community, forcing the district to issue an apology. The incident that happened at Pennfield Middle School in Hatfield was shared on Facebook by a group called North Penn Stronger Together on Monday, January 17.
“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 Facebook post said. The group urged the North Penn School District to take action and encouraged community members to voice their opinion at a school board meeting on Thursday, January 20. '
The North Penn School District subsequently issued a statement that said the image 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 acknowledged that the act of taping a mask to a young student's face is "concerning to many," and it apologized for the actions of the employee.
The mother of the student whose face was taped in the photo said 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," said the anonymous mother. "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."
The North Penn Stronger Together put up another post stating that it is "NOT" a political organization and was no longer tied with any political race or candidates. "NPST has become a sounding board for concerned parents. It is a place where parents can advocate who want to see accountability in the district," the group posted.
"We recently made a call for action, and while we respect the privacy of personnel issues, we are PARENTS NOT POLITICIANS seeking some kind of leadership that gives us confidence that the faceless child won't be one of ours," the group wrote. "This was an opportunity to bridge a gap."