Annika McKenzie: New York Teacher Strangled And Left In Hallway By Student’s Mom, Police Say

Catherine Engelhardt

New York middle school teacher Catherine Engelhardt was strangled by a student’s mom, kicked by students, and left in the hallway, Hempstead police claim. The Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School teacher is reportedly recovering at home “in a lot of pain” after being released from an area hospital.

Catherine Engelhardt was allegedly strangled and kicked by Annika McKenzie, 34, the woman’s 14-year-old niece, and other students on Wednesday afternoon. The student’s mother walked into the Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School building without being cleared by security, according to the Hempstead, New York police. McKenzie then allegedly walked down the hallway in search of her 12-year-old daughter’s math teacher.

Annika McKenzie reportedly believed that Catherine Engelhardt “put her hands on” her daughter earlier the same day. Englehardt was left unconscious for “several minutes” after being kicked and strangled. Both McKenzie and her 14-year-old niece were arrested at the scene.

Catherine Engelhardt reportedly refused to speak with McKenzie about the alleged incident with her daughter when she arrived and told her to first go get a security pass. The physical attack reportedly began immediately after the refusal. Hempstead police reports indicate that the New York teacher was shoved against a wall in the school hallway, placed in a headlock, and then thrown to the floor.

Several Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School students allegedly aided Annika McKenzie and her niece in the assault. Another teacher stepped in to stop the fight and to offer first aid to Catherine Engelhardt, who has been teaching for 20 years.

“I knew something violent was going to happen. It’s not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen. I’ve warned [the school] time and again that the children have no respect for adults. Yes, I fear for my safety. They can’t control the kids,” Catherine Engelhardt said during an interview after allegedly being attacked by a student’s mom.

Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association President Elias Mestizo told the media that many other staffers have also voiced school safety concerns. The teacher attack was reportedly captured on a security camera and turned over to police investigators. A 911 call went out from the New York middle school around 2 p.m.

Both Annika McKenzie and her niece were charged with a felony count of second-degree assault on school grounds. McKenzie was also reportedly charged with second-degree strangulation.

What do you think about the New York teacher being attacked by a parent and a student? How should teachers be better protected from parents and students to prevent similar altercations?

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