OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A local mother said her son is now hesitant to go to class after a teacher did what she calls “unthinkable.”
Tabitha Berry said the classroom hasn’t been the same for her eighth grade son at Overland Trail Middle School for the past week.
After several warnings to wear his mask properly, she said a teacher told him to either tape his mask to his face — or head to the principal’s office.
In order to avoid trouble, Berry said her son and two other students taped their masks to their faces.
Berry said this shouldn’t have happened to her child.
“I feel like my son was abused,” she said. “I cant imagine him treating another child like this.”
But it’s what the school did after the incident that has Berry on edge. Even though the school has contacted her several times, she said she isn’t getting answers about what they are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Her son still attends the teacher’s class every day.
Marcus Baltzell with the Kansas National Education Association said it can be hard for teachers to enforce mask rules.
“There’s a lot of responsibility placed on the shoulders of teachers right now,” he said.
“It’s not just as simple as a one-to-one issue with a teacher and student who isn’t complying. It’s the other pressure to make sure everyone stays safe and in compliance so everyone can stay in the class long term,” Baltzell said.
Berry said she knows the burden is heavy on teachers, but she will fight until she knows for sure the school is doing the right thing for her son’s wellbeing.
“I do understand it’s got to be hard with the mask situation, but taking it into his own hands, that’s not OK,” she said.
Kaci Brutto with Blue Valley Schools released the following statement to FOX4 Tuesday evening:
“While proper masking is important, the district does not condone the way this situation was handled in the classroom. Privacy law prevents us from discussing personnel matters, including the discipline of employees. While I cannot share specifics about this situation, I can share that this situation was addressed in a timely and serious manner.”