California teacher arrested after appearing to forcibly cut off a student's hair while singing the national anthem
A California high-school teacher was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after an Instagram video, which was later posted to Reddit, appeared to show her forcibly cutting a student's hair during class while singing the national anthem.
52-year-old Margaret Gieszinger is a science teacher at University Preparatory High School in Visalia. In videos of the incident, Gieszinger, is seen chasing students with scissors between desks while belting out the Star Spangled Banner. She is then filmed standing in front of a student, cutting sections of his hair, before throwing them behind her.
The bizarre sequence of events took place in first period during Gieszinger's chemistry class. Students say the teacher came into class with a pair of scissors, and declared it haircut day.
"We think she's going to try to be funny and be like 'Oh did you really think I was going to cut his hair?' But she did cut a hair off, and she started singing the Star Spangled Banner and she was singing it really loudly as she ceremoniously tossed a chunk of hair behind her," said a student who wishes to remain anonymous.
The student says he was sitting in the back of the classroom, and ran to the main office for assistance.
"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," he continued.
The video continues to show Gieszinger grabbing another girl's hair, before the remaining students fled the classroom. While students say they don't know know what triggered her behaviour, they did claim that she had a similar breakdown earlier in the week;
"I know that on Monday she had another freak out because a test was missing or something. She accused the students of taking the test."
College of the Sequoias Police have arrested Gieszinger on suspicion of corporal injury to a child.
Her bail has been set at $100,000.
The Tulare County Office of Education have since released the following statement regarding the incident:
"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. 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.
We take very seriously the safety of the students in classrooms and on the COS campus. We move decisively when questions of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct are brought to the attention of UPHS administration. In this instance, we promptly removed Ms. Gieszinger from her classroom and worked closely with the COS Police Department. We are reviewing all available information and will take the most severe employment action appropriate. Ms. Gieszinger will not return to her UPHS classroom.
A highly-qualified substitute teacher has been placed in the classroom for the remainder of the semester. UPHS administration will work closely with this teacher until a replacement teacher is hired.
At this time, we cannot discuss further the details of this matter out of respect for due process, student privacy rights, employee privacy rights, and law enforcement's ongoing investigation. We appreciate the prompt actions of the COS Police Department, and appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we continue to handle this unfortunate incident."