A viral image of a middle school teacher in Pennsylvania taping a mask to a student's face has sparked outrage among parents. The photo, which blurred the face of the student, shows an unidentified Pennfield Middle School teacher putting a piece of tape on the side of the black face mask as the boy sits at his desk.
The image was posted on the North Penn Stronger Together Facebook page, which was used to promote several Republican candidates who ran and lost during last year's school board election.
"Pro-mask or anti-mask, I hope we can all agree that taping masks to children's faces crosses the LINE. This was not a joke for the child or the parents," the post said.
Officials with the North Penn School District issued a statement saying they launched an immediate investigation into the photograph.
"After an immediate investigation, it was determined that while the incident was isolated and no malice was intended, the actions of the teacher were entirely inappropriate and unacceptable, no matter the context," the statement said.
The district said it has addressed the incident with the teacher but would not provide information about any disciplinary action.
Parents were not happy and spoke up to voice their concerns during a school board meeting.
"I think as parents and taxpayers we deserve to know how the situation is being handled because as of now, we've heard the teacher — who is a special education teacher — is not arrested for child abuse nor fired," one parent said during the meeting, according to WCAU.
The mother of the student seen in the photograph was not happy that her son had become the focal point in the debate about masks. She was not in attendance but prepared a statement that was read during the meeting.
"Certain individuals felt compelled to take matters into their own hands, including contacting local authorities and disseminating this image of my son to various media outlets," the statement said. "What has since transpired is like a scene from my worst nightmare."