The Philadelphia Public School District issued an apology after a photo of a teacher taping a mask to a student’s face went viral on social media.
The image in question was first posted on Monday to the North Penn Stronger Together Facebook group. It depicts a teacher putting duct tape on a mask over the face of a student sitting in a classroom.
The report claimed the photo showed “one of the Pennfield High School teachers taping a mask to a child’s face” and sought an explanation from the North Penn school district as well as the Democrats, who were re-elected to the district’s school board in November. 2021.
“For the mask or against the mask, I hope we can all agree that sticking masks to children’s faces crosses the LINE. This was no joke for the child or the parents,” said North Penn Stronger Together, which was founded last fall to support Republicans seeking to overthrow Democratic school board members.
In a statement released Wednesday, the school district said it was an isolated incident with no malicious intent.
“An image taken in one of our classrooms last week and shared on social media does not reflect the universal values that the North Penn School District is committed to instilling in both our students and staff,” the district said. “Following an immediate investigation, it was determined that while the incident was isolated and without malicious intent, the teacher’s actions were completely inappropriate and unacceptable, regardless of the context.”
The teacher and student have not been identified, nor is it known when the photo was taken. The school district stated that “all staff and student inquiries are confidential” and that it cannot provide “additional information.”
The photo also sparked a social media skirmish between North Penn Strong Together and its Democratic counterpart North Penn Neighbors for Progress, with Democrats accusing Republicans of “social media exploitation of the child and family” for political gain.
“The continued use of any kind of negative news to reinvigorate the cynical, partisan rhetoric that fueled your failed campaign is exhausting,” Neighbors for Progress said. “Please stop demanding public comment on an issue that should be decided internally first.”
In response, Stronger Together stated that the group was “no longer affiliated with any political race” and that they were “told this and given permission to post the photo”.
“The parents and the child were unhappy with this action and unhappy with the way the administration responded to the incident,” the group said. “While we respect the confidentiality of personnel matters, we are PARENTS, NOT POLITICIANS, looking for some kind of leadership that gives us confidence that this faceless child will not be one of ours.”
In a similar incident last year, a teacher in Las Vegas allegedly taped a mask to the face of a 9-year-old student because the child forgot to put it on when he got up during class to drink water. The student’s mother told the media that the teacher, instead of simply telling her son to put on the mask, took the boy out in front of the class and taped the mask to his face.