Parents in a Pennsylvania school district have expressed outrage after a picture of a school employee using tape to put a mask on a child's face went viral online. The school district has confirmed that the picture is genuine.
"Pro-mask or anti-mask, I hope we can all agree that taping masks to children's faces crosses the LINE," the Facebook group North Penn Stronger Together wrote online Monday with the photo. "This was not a joke for the child or the parents."
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The North Penn School District confirmed that the image is genuine.
"A picture taken in one of our classrooms last week circulating on social media does not represent the universal values that the North Penn School District strives to instill in both our students and staff," the school district admitted in a statement Wednesday. "After an immediate investigation, it was determined that while the incident was isolated and no malice was intentional, the teacher's actions were completely inappropriate and unacceptable, regardless of the context."
"We understand that the act of taping a mask to a student's face is worrying to many and apologize for what happened," the district added. "The case is serious and it is being taken up with the employee. However, all staff and student cases are confidential and no further information can be provided."
"The lack of good judgment and common sense demonstrated by this teacher is shocking," a spokesman for the North Penn Stronger Together Facebook group told Fox News in a statement. "There is no justification for this action - whether the intention was playful, funny, malicious or something else."
"The fact that our school district leaders did not immediately remove this educator from any classroom responsibility may be a greater and more shocking offense," the group's spokesman added. "Each district should take steps to ensure that this does not happen in their schools."
Chuck Callesto, a former candidate for Florida's 3rd Congressional District, drew attention to the incident on Twitter. "Teacher at Pennfield Middle School in Pennsylvania caught taping mask to a toddler's face in class," callesto tweeted.
The North Penn School District serves the Montgomery County suburbs of Philadelphia.
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More children have been admitted for COVID-19 due to the omicron variant of COVID-19 disease than with previous variants. Yet children are far less likely to experience severe symptoms from the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 596 American children between the ages of 5 and 18 have died from COVID-19 per year. January 19, 2022, or 0.07 percent of the 848,388 deaths in the total U.S. population.