Teacher al­legedly cut boy’s hair by force

The News & Observer - - Obituaries -

A high school teacher in cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of felony child en­dan­ger­ment after forcibly cut­ting the hair of one of her stu­dents while singing the na­tional an­them, au­thor­i­ties said.

Mar­garet Gieszinger was ar­rested Wed­nes­day after videos posted to so­cial me­dia showed a stu­dent at Univer­sity Prepara­tory High School in the city of Visalia sit­ting in a chair at the front of the class­room as Gieszinger cuts his hair.

In a video ob­tained by KFSN-TV, the 52-year-old science and chem­istry teacher is heard belt­ing the “Star Span­gled Ban­ner” while cut­ting chunks of the boy’s hair and toss­ing them be­hind her. The cir­cum­stances of what led the teacher to cut the stu­dent’s hair were not im­me­di­ately known.

After cut­ting the boy’s hair, Gieszinger grabs at a girl’s long hair be­fore the stu­dents make a run for it out of the class­room, the video shows.

Of­fi­cers re­sponded Wed­nes­day to the high school housed on the grounds of the Col­lege of the Se­quoias, a Cal­i­for­nia com­mu­nity col­lege, after re­ceiv­ing re­ports of child en­dan­ger­ment in­volv­ing a teacher and a “pair of scis­sors,” Po­lice Chief Kevin Mizner told the Visalia Times Delta. Mizner did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a mes­sage from The As­so­ci­ated Press seek­ing com­ment.

Rob Her­man, a spokesman for the Tu­lare County Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion, said coun­selors were made avail­able Thurs­day to sup­port stu­dents at the pub­lic high school.

“We take very se­ri­ously the safety of the stu­dents in class­rooms and on the COS cam­pus,” Her­man said in an email.

Her­man said Gieszinger “will not re­turn to her class­room,” but wouldn’t say whether she was fired.

Gieszinger was hired in Au­gust to teach at the high school part-time, he said.

Gieszinger’s teach­ing cre­den­tial was sus­pended for 14 days in 2016 “for im­moral or un­pro­fes­sional con­duct,” ac­cord­ing to the state’s Com­mis­sion on Teacher Cre­den­tial­ing. Her teach­ing cre­den­tial was also sus­pended for two weeks in 2017 but the com­mis­sion does not list a rea­son.

Lilli Gates, one of Gieszinger’s stu­dents, told the news­pa­per the in­ci­dent was out of char­ac­ter for the teacher.

“When ev­ery­thing was go­ing on I was ter­ri­fied, and I so badly wanted to blame her,” Gates said. “She is a lov­ing and kind lady. She is usu­ally all smiles and laughs. This is not the Miss G. we know and love.”

Gieszinger is be­ing held on $100,000 bail. It was not im­me­di­ately known if she has an at­tor­ney.

Mar­garet Gieszinger

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