A California elementary school teacher is behind bars after she was caught on video allegedly cutting a boy’s hair — and throwing chunks of it behind her — while singing the national anthem, ABC News is reporting.
Margaret Gieszinger had, until this week, been a teacher at University Preparatory High School on the campus of College of the Sequoias Community College in Visalia. However, her teaching career — and indeed her freedom — are now in jeopardy following the bizarre incident, one which was captured on video and uploaded on Wednesday.
In the video, which you can see a few paragraphs below, Gieszinger can be seen ordering a reluctant boy, a teenager, into a seat at the front of the classroom. She can then be seen cutting the boy’s already-short hair — all while singing the national anthem — and throwing chunks of his hair behind her.
She can then be seen going to the back of the classroom and grabbing a girl by the hair, making snipping sounds with the scissors. Several teachers ran out of the classroom in horror — and went to the principal’s office to get help.
What happened next remains unclear, but according to NBC News, Gieszinger was “removed” from the classroom and was taken to jail. A substitute teacher was sent into the classroom in her place. The 52-year-old was held in custody.
You can watch the video of the incident below, but be warned: it contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
One student, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he never wants to see Gieszinger again.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak, reassures students and parents that student safety is the school district’s top priority.
“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.”
Days before the strange episode in the classroom of Margaret Gieszinger, students say she was already showing signs of odd behavior.https://t.co/aw9hE6m5FJ— ABC30 Fresno (@ABC30) December 7, 2018
It remains unclear what prompted the bizarre episode, but some students told local media that the teacher had experienced a “previous breakdown” earlier in the week.
A KFSN-TV (Fresno) reporter caught up with Gieszinger’s husband at his home. He was just as baffled as her students.
“It’s a shock to me, that’s out of her character. She doesn’t do stuff like that. It’s not her. It’s not who she is. So I don’t know what was going on with her. I don’t have any clue as to why she did that.”
Gieszinger, who has no prior criminal history, remains behind bars on suspicion of felony child endangerment.