A high school teacher is facing several criminal charges after a cell phone video shows her cutting a student’s hair while singing the National Anthem.
According to CNN, Margaret Gieszinger, 52, was in front of her class at University Preparatory High School in Visalia, California when the incident occurred.
— ABC News (@abcnews) December 10, 2018
The video shows Gieszinger calling a student to the front of the classroom and making him take a seat before she starts belting the National Anthem and cutting chunks of hair from his head.
She loudly sang “what so proudly we held,” while tossing a chunk of his hair behind her. She was able to take several snips before the student got up from the chair.
The student’s attorney, Mark Vogt, said:
“He couldn’t believe what was happening. He, frankly, didn’t know what to do. He thought to himself ‘me or anybody else, she’s coming for someone else.’ And in the video, of course, we see that later. But he was absolutely terrified.”
Once that student moved away the teacher began demanding another volunteer or she would “pick you out.”
After no one volunteered, Gieszinger is seen quickly approaching another student and grabbing her long hair, as others run out of the classroom. The second student was successfully able to pull away from a singing Gieszinger before receiving a trim.
The chemistry teacher faces six criminal misdemeanor charges. The charges include one count of false imprisonment, two counts of cruelty to a child, two counts of battery, and one count of assault. As CNN reports, Gieszinger could serve up to three and a half years in prison if she is convicted on all charges. She was released from jail Friday evening, after posting a $100,000 bail.
According to KFSN, students say the teacher started showing strange behavior in days leading up to this incident.
A student, who declined to be identified, recalled “Mrs.G” yelling at her class when an exam went missing. She said:
“She just started yelling at the students for not having the test, and she made a student cry.”
Gieszinger has since been fired and ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from University Preparatory High School.The school promises that she will never be able to return to the premises.
Her husband, who spoke with KFSN, was puzzled by his wife’s behavior. He said:
“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.”
The Tulare County Office of Education is offering to counsel any students, who may need it. The office released a statement emphasizing their focus on the safety of students and promising to implement the harshest employee consequences appropriate for Gieszinger’s actions.