A Pennsylvania middle school teacher has sparked outrage after she was photographed taping a mask onto a student’s face, prompting the North Penn School District to slam her actions as “inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The photograph was posted Monday on a Facebook page for “North Penn Stronger Together,” the name for a slate of Republican candidates who lost election to the school board in November, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The image showed a woman, described by the group as a Pennfield Middle School teacher, putting tape on the top and side of a student’s mask in the classroom.
However, the circumstances leading up to those actions and following are not known.
“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 group said in a Facebook post.
The district said in a statement the image was taken in one of its classrooms last week and does not represent the district’s values.
“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.
The district said the matter is being addressed with the teacher, but did not share if the staffer might be fired or placed on leave.
“All personnel and student matters are confidential and no further information can be provided,” the district said.
The district did not immediately reply to NBC News’ request for comment on the incident.
District officials also addressed the controversy during a school board meeting Thursday evening, where angry parents demanded answers.
“First and foremost I’d like to extend an apology on behalf of the district and the board of school directors to the student who was involved and to his family,” North Penn School Board President Tina Stoll said at the meeting, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Several parents raised questions over the treatment of students and demanded the teacher involved be fired.
“I want to know — have there been any other teachers that have taped masks to kids?” one parent asked the board at the meeting.
“I think as parents and taxpayers we deserve to know how the situation is being handled because as of now, we’ve heard the teacher — who is a special education teacher — is not arrested for child abuse nor fired,” another person said at the meeting.
However, the mother of the student photographed is not happy with how the incident has escalated. A statement from the mother was read at the meeting, the news station reported.
“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 statement said.
She added, “What has since transpired is like a scene from my worst nightmare.”