Teacher Recorded Forcibly Cutting Student's Hair While Singing 'Star Spangled Banner,' Waving Scissors
A California high school teacher who was filmed forcibly cutting a student’s hair while singing the national anthem has been arrested on child endangerment charges.
On Wednesday, College of the Sequoias police took University Preparatory High School science teacher Margaret Gieszinger, 52, into custody on child endangerment charges, ABC30, the Visalia Times Delta and NBC News report. She remains behind bars at the Tulare County Jail on a $100,000 bond, jail records state.
In a one-minute video of the incident taken by a student, Gieszinger can be seen forcing one of her students to sit down in a chair at the front of her classroom.
“Take a seat,” Gieszinger yells at a male student, pointing to a chair in front of her.
Gieszinger begins to cut the teen’s hair with a pair of scissors while singing the “Star Spangled Banner,” throwing chunks of his hair behind her.
When his classmates urge him to get up, the teen flees before Gieszinger pauses and says, “Next! I’m not done. Next! Next!”
She then begins to look around the room, telling her students, “I’m going to pick you out.”
Gieszinger then points to a student out of frame, who can be heard yelling, “Don’t touch me!”
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Gieszinger begins walking towards her students with the scissors, eventually grabbing one female student’s hair as others around her apparently try to stop her, yelling, “No, Miss G! Miss. G!”
But Gieszinger starts singing again, raising the scissors above her head, and the student is able to run away.
Seconds later the rest of the class runs out of the classroom, many of the students screaming, while Gieszinger can be heard singing in the background.
The 52-year-old’s actions came as a shock, students told local media.
“When everything was going on I was terrified, and I so badly wanted to blame her. I was scared she was going to come back,” student Lilli Gates told the Times Delta. “What she did to my classmates and [me] is inexcusable. I am not trying to make excuses for her, I simply ask everyone to reconsider how they view her. She is a loving and kind lady. She is usually all smiles and laughs. This is not the Miss G. we know and love.”
One student told ABC30 the incident occurred during first period and has changed the way he sees his teacher forever.
“I hope I never have to see her at the school again, because I know for a fact I can never see her as a respectable authority figure in my life,” said the student, who asked to remain anonymous.
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Police have finished their initial investigation and will present their findings to the Tulare District Attorney’s Office, ABC30 reports.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the Tulare County Office of Education said Gieszinger will not be returning to her classroom and substitute teacher will be taking her place.
“The staff at University Preparatory High School and the administration at the Tulare County Office of Education are deeply concerned for the students who were subjected to the disturbing behavior in Margaret Gieszinger’s class yesterday morning,” the statement read, ABC30 reports. “To support all students on the UPHS campus today, we have sent top counselors from our mental health services program. They will continue to be available to the students as long as necessary.”
It is unclear whether Gieszinger has an attorney or has entered a plea.
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