As the nation continues to face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, families and schools are trying to manage risks as well as possible. What options are safe for students, teachers, and other staff, like janitors and cafeteria workers? When is in-classroom learning preferable to virtual and vice-versa? These are big questions, and the answers come with consideration for a lot of factors. Unsurprisingly, the anti-mask and anti-vaccine rhetoric some Republican lawmakers are pushing isn’t helping matters.
One example of anti-mask hysteria causing issues in schools? As reported by local outlet KCRA 3, a parent allegedly assaulted a sixth-grade teacher in California when he saw his child leave school wearing a mask during after-school pickup. The alleged assault resulted in the teacher having bruising and lacerations on his face, as well as a “knot” on the back of his head, according to the superintendent. Making the situation even sadder, this incident occurred on the first day back at school.
Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie Gibson told the outlet that the parent first confronted the school’s principal when he saw his child leave the building wear a mask. The parent was upset about the school’s mask requirement. Masks, mind you, are required for everyone while indoors on the school’s campus unless they have a medical exemption. Teachers at Sutter Creek Elementary School who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks indoors if students are not present.
A teacher interrupted the confrontation between the parent and principal, which then escalated to a physical altercation. The teacher was treated at the hospital, and while the student is allowed back at school, the parent is not. A police report has been filed, but it’s unclear if charges will be pressed or not. It’s also unclear if the parent suffered any injuries.
"As the first day of school comes and goes,” Gibson wrote in a letter to parents following the incident, as reported by NBC News. “There are always hiccups along the way, especially during this trying time."
“Unfortunately,” she continued. “A parent took it upon himself to verbally assault a principal that led to a serious physical altercation between him and a teacher as the teacher intended to protect the principal.”
Gibson reminded parents that the school is not making mandates but must follow them to keep “doors open” five days a week. In the letter, Gibson added that assaulting a staff member won’t be allowed at any school and that if people need to, they should “take a breath” and “walk away if necessary.”
When it comes to kids and the coronavirus, reports and guidance have changed during the pandemic. Recently, however, we know kids have shown more symptoms with the delta variant and that children’s hospitals in some states have faced bed shortages. The vaccine has not yet been authorized for kids younger than twelve, so we have to remember that even if adults in a child's life are vaccinated, young people are still essentially unprotected.
Unsurprisingly, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people in school K-12 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) recommends everyone older than age 2 wear a mask in school or daycare—again, regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.
You can check out a brief interview with Gibson below.