Kansas mom says teacher forced son to tape mask to face

U.S. & World

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WDAF) – A Kansas 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.

“I feel like my son was abused,” she said. “I can’t imagine him treating another child like this.”

Even though the school has contacted her several times, Berry 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.

Kaci Brutto with Blue Valley Schools released the following statement to Nexstar’s WDAF 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.”

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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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