Pennsylvania parents are outraged after a school employee was photographed taping a mask to a young student's face, Fox News reported.
The school acknowledged the photo and confirmed its authenticity in a statement following outcry.
What are the details?
The incident is said to have recently taken place at a North Penn School District school in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Facebook group North Penn Stronger Together shared the offending photo on Monday with the caption, "This is a call to action to the administration. Please email the board at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Or sign up to speak at the board action meeting this Thursday,1/20 at 7:00p.m. In the NPHS auditorium. You must email school board secretary at email@example.com by 6:00 p.m Wed. 1/19[.]"
The post continued, "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. I am calling on the North Penn Neighbors for Progress and North Penn School District to address this photo of a Pennfield Middle school co-teacher taping a mask to a child’s face to district parents and families ASAP."
"We ask for respect for this student and his family," the post concluded.
What has the district said?
The district acknowledged the incident after the photo went viral and in a statement published to its website said:
An image taken in one of our classrooms last week and 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.
We understand that the act of taping a mask to a student’s face is concerning to many and apologize that it occurred. The matter is serious and it is being addressed with the employee. However, all personnel and student matters are confidential and no further information can be provided.
Anything else to know about this?
A spokesperson for the North Penn Stronger Together Facebook group told Fox News that the "lack of good judgment and common sense demonstrated by this educator is shocking.
"There is no justification for this action — regardless of whether the intent was playful, joking, malicious or something else," the spokesperson continued. "The fact that our school district leaders did not immediately remove this educator from any classroom responsibility may be a bigger and more shocking offense. Every district should take measures to ensure that this does not happen in their schools."
The Pottstown Mercury on Wednesday reported that a Tuesday night social media post from a Facebook group titled "North Penn Neighbors for Progress" — referred to as "the Democrat incumbents" — addressed the photo and said, “To our detractors led by North Penn Stronger Together: The continued exploitation of any piece of negative news to re-instigate the cynical, partisan rhetoric that fueled your failed campaign is exhausting. But exploitation of a child and family on social media, in pursuit of political gain, is absolutely unacceptable. Please stop demanding public comment on a matter that must be foremost dealt with internally.”