A former teacher at University Preparatory High School in Visalia, California, was fired and faces multiple criminal charges after a video surfaced that shows her forcibly cutting a student's hair while singing her own lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Margaret Gieszinger, 52, was arrested on six criminal misdemeanor charges, including one count of false imprisonment, two counts of cruelty to a child, two counts of battery, and one count of assault, KFSN-TV reported. She could face up to 3.5 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
How did this unfold?
Gieszinger reportedly arrived for her first-period chemistry class with a pair of scissors and announced that it was haircut day. At first, students thought it was just a joke.
A cellphone video posted Wednesday on Reddit shows Gieszinger calling forward a male student to sit in a chair at the front of the classroom. She uses the scissors to randomly cuts off chunks of his hair while sings the national anthem.
After the student moved away, Gieszinger held the scissors above her head and demanded that another student come to the front of the class. At one point, she lunged at a female student and pulled her long hair to the side as she attempted to cut it. The female student yelled at Gieszinger to stop and ran out of the room with other students.
"He couldn't believe what was happening," Mark Vogt, an attorney for the male student whose hair was cut, told the TV station. "He frankly didn't know what to do. He thought to himself 'me or anybody else, she's coming for someone else.' And in the video, of course, we see that later. But he was absolutely terrified."
A student who asked to remain anonymous told the TV station: "We think she's going to try to be funny and be like 'Oh did you really think I was going to cut his hair?' But she did cut a hair off, and she started singing the Star Spangled Banner and she was singing it really loudly as she ceremoniously tossed a chunk of hair behind her."
The school reportedly set up counseling for students following the incident.
"We take very seriously the safety of the students in classrooms," the Tulare County Office of Education said in a statement. "We are reviewing all available information and will take the most severe employment action appropriate."
The county office also said a substitute teacher was assigned to the class.
Gieszinger was released from jail in Tulare County Friday after posting $100,000 bail, according to reports. She was ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from University Preparatory High School.