School Safety Officer Beaten by Parents for Asking for COVID Vaccine Proof

At least two people have been arrested for allegedly attacking a school safety officer at a New York City elementary school after the officer asked for proof of COVID vaccination in order for them to enter the building.

Three parents, two men and one woman, arrived at the Brooklyn school Thursday with pizza and cake to celebrate a child's birthday, where they were denied entry unless they provided proof of vaccination, an NYPD spokesperson told Newsweek.

When the officer physically prevented them from entering the building, the parents attacked the officer, who was later hospitalized with bruises and sprains, in addition to a fingernail that was broken off of the female officer's finger during the attack, Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, the union that represents the school safety agents, told Newsweek.

New York City Schools COVID Vaccine Proof
Three New York city parents allegedly assaulted a school safety officer who stopped them from entering a school without proof of vaccination. Above, blank COVID-19 vaccination cards are stacked December 21, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The parents allegedly told the officer upon arriving at the school that they had spoken to someone on the phone about bringing the food for a child's birthday so they didn't need to show proof of vaccination. However, an NYPD spokesperson told Newsweek that the parents were told they could bring the food, but they would not be allowed to remain inside because of the city's COVID restrictions.

The two men allegedly held the officer while the woman attacked her, pulling at her hair and hitting her, Floyd told Newsweek. The three fled after the altercation, and one of the men was arrested upon returning to the school to pick his child up, and the mother was arrested when she returned to the school to call 911, alleging that the officer had assaulted her.

Floyd told Newsweek that the woman was the mother of two children at the school, one of which was celebrating a birthday, and the two men were fathers of the women's children.

An NYPD press release shared with Newsweek identifies the woman as 26-year-old Tazaine Brooks, who is charged with assault, and the man who was arrested as Kijana Harbin, charged with assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.

Harbin and Brooks each have prior arrests for assault and other charges dating back several years, the release states. The release also states that the unnamed female school safety officer suffered the broken nail which caused her right hand to bleed, in addition to a laceration on her chin, and bruising and swelling in her face, and was hospitalized and is in stable condition.

Floyd pointed to the incident as an example of why schools should have more than one safety officer and said other school officials who came outside to stop the attack were threatened that they would be attacked too if they tried to intervene. He also said the third individual had been arrested, which has not been confirmed by the police.

Update 4/8/22, 4:10 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information, as well as comment from the NYPD and the union that represents the school safety officers.