The superintendent of a California school district said a parent “verbally assaulted a principal” and engaged in “a serious physical altercation” with a teacher over face coverings about an hour after the first day of school on Wednesday.
Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie F. Gibson informed parents of the alleged incident in a letter on Thursday, asking those who disagree with the rules to “Take a breath, pause, listen, and walk away if necessary” rather than scapegoating staff.
Gibson told a local television station “the teacher was bleeding” and “had some lacerations on his face, some bruising on his face and a pretty good knot on the back of his head. The teacher was treated at an emergency room for the injuries after attempting to protect the principal from the parent, Gibson said. Late Wednesday, the teacher was released from the hospital.
“Assaulting a staff member will never be tolerated on any school campus and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Gibson wrote. “Remember, we are not the ones making the rules/mandates, we are the ones required to follow/enforce them if we want to keep our doors open and students at school five days a week.”
Amador County is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento.
According to the Amador Ledger Dispatch, the incident occurred at Sutter Creek Elementary School and “was allegedly the result of a parent being unhappy with their child wearing a mask when the parent picked them up from school.”
KCRA 3 reported that the parent is not allowed back on school property.
In an email to The Sacramento Bee, Gibson reportedly confirmed that the dispute “did stem from the masking mandate” issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which requires students entering public K-12 campuses wear face coverings while inside buildings and classrooms.
Local police confirmed the disturbance was related to “COVID-19 procedures and facial maskings.”
More details from The Bee:
The Amador school board during an Aug. 4 meeting voted 4-1 to approve the district’s COVID-19 health and safety plan, but also tabled until this week a declarative resolution on masks that would “insist that the governing authority for school safety protocols be returned to locally elected school trustee members” and “advocate for Parental Choice for masking and COVID-19 vaccination for their children.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced a vaccine-or-test requirement for teachers and other staff at K-12 schools, both public and private, across California. There is no vaccine mandate at this time for K-12 students.
“I beg that we do our best to set all feelings aside and look at what is best for students,” Gibson said in the letter to parents. “We know emotions are high, and conversations are intense. We must promote and support school environments that are compassionate and sympathetic. I encourage you to connect with someone in our school community you feel comfortable confiding in to create a safe place to vent and obtain clarification as needed. The mandates are forever changing so understanding current requirements is critical.”