A Pennsylvania middle school teacher who was captured in a photo forcing a child to wear a mask by taping it onto his face went viral this week, forcing the school district to issue a public apology.
The incident, which reportedly took place in Pennfield Middle School in Hatfield, PA, was shared on Monday in a Facebook group called “North Penn Stronger Together,” the New York Post reported.
“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 post read.
Members of the group reportedly called on the school district to take action against the teacher and encouraged other community members to voice their outrage at a Thursday night school board meeting. Many called for the teacher’s termination.
In a statement on Wednesday, which was obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the school apologized for the teacher’s actions and said that issue was “being addressed” with the teacher. There’s no word on whether the teacher lost her job or faced any immediate disciplinary action, though.
“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 student’s mother expressed unhappiness that the photograph went viral, telling North Penn Now that the situation was her “worst nightmare” come true.
In a statement to the publication, the mother, who chose to remain anonymous, said that she never intended for the photo to gain nationwide attention and only agreed to share it with the local private group to garner support ahead of the board meeting.
“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 mother said. “While I appreciate parents and groups alike coming to our defense, as stated above, what this has evolved into is exactly what I wanted to avoid.”