Students Forced to Tape Masks Over Face to Avoid Principal's Office, Mother Says

A teacher in Kansas allegedly told students to tape masks to their faces or be sent to the principal's office, according to one child's mother.

Tabitha Berry told Kansas City news station WDAF-TV that her son, an eighth-grade student at Overland Trail Middle School, is hesitant to go to class over the incident that occurred last week. Since then, "the classroom hasn't been the same," she said.

Berry's child was given several warnings to wear his mask properly but the mother said his teacher told him to either tape the mask to his face or go to the principal's office. Berry called the request "unthinkable."

It's unclear how Berry's child was wearing his mask, but the district's website says that all students, staff and visitors are required to wear masks indoors. Newsweek reached out to the Blue Valley School District for comment about the incident but did not hear back.

To avoid trouble, Berry's son and at least two other students taped their masks to their faces, according to WDAF-TV. But Berry said it never should have happened.

"I feel like my son was abused," she said. "I can't imagine him treating another child like this."

Schools Continue To Reopen As Lockdown Measures
A surgical mask lies on a sixth grader's desk on the first day of classes since March at the GutsMuths Grundschule elementary school during the novel coronavirus crisis on May 4, 2020, in Berlin, Germany. A Kansas mother said that a teacher forced her son to tape a mask to his face or else he'd be sent to the principal's office in September 2021. Sean Gallup/Getty

Following the incident, the school district contacted Berry but she told WDAF-TV that she hasn't been given answers on how they plan to prevent this situation from reoccurring. Her child remains in the teacher's class.

Marcus Baltzell with the Kansas National Education Association told the local news station that enforcing masks for students has been difficult for instructors.

"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."

While Berry understands the pressure teachers are under, she wants to know the school is doing the right thing for her son.

"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, a representative with the school district, issued a statement to WDAF-TV on 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," Brutto said.