The mask mandate has been a hugely controversial issue. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that all children should be wearing masks when they return to school this academic year. The new Delta variant of the coronavirus is known to be far more contagious, with children prone to becoming sick and spreading the virus further.
Disputes over the mask mandate for schoolchildren have already begun erupting all over the country as children re-enter schools. But one teacher caught the brunt of one side's anger this week. A teacher from Sutter Creek elementary school in Amador County, California has been left hospitalized after being beaten by an angry parent.
The incident occurred last week when a father arrived at the school to collect his daughter and saw her wearing a face covering, in accordance with the school district's policy on the COVID pandemic.
However, the dad in question was hugely displeased at the fact his daughter had been required to wear a mask. He called the mask mandate part of a "conspiracy" and claimed children "are being treated like animals," according to CNN. The father then demanded to speak to the school's principal, and the pair got into a heated argument.
A male teacher then tried to intervene in the argument to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, this was to no avail and things continued to escalate between the dad and the school staff. Eventually, a physical fight ensued.
According to Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie Gibson, the teacher suffered "lacerations on his face, some bruising on his a face and a pretty good knot on the back of his head," as per Insider. He was treated at a nearby hospital, but has since been released and has not sustained any more serious injuries. It's not clear whether or not the father was injured at all during the scuffle.
The dad has now been banned from Sutter Creek Elementary School's campus. The Sutter Creek Police have not arrested the father, but have claimed they're still investigating the incident.
In a statement given to families of school pupils, Gibson said: "As the first day of school comes and goes, there are always hiccups along the way, especially during this trying time. Remember, we are not the ones making the rules/mandates," she added. "We are the ones required to follow/enforce them if we want to keep the doors open and the students at school five days a week."
It seems the internet has united in support of the teacher and school in this situation, too. As one Facebook commenter wrote: "If this is a county rule then it's not the teacher or principal's fault at all. They are just doing their job. What a total jerk. If he didn't like the policy, go to the superintendent."