A Long Island middle school teacher is lucky to be alive after being violently attacked by a student’s mom and cousin, authorities said.
The brutal assault took place in the halls of Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead on Wednesday, according to ABC 7.
Parent Annika McKenzie, 34, reportedly showed up to the school and bypassed security to confront veteran teacher Catherine Engelhardt. McKenzie accused the teacher of “putting her hands” on her 12-year-old daughter earlier that day.
Engelhardt called security right away but help didn’t arrive until after she was shoved against the wall, placed in a headlock and thrown to the ground, according to authorities.
Video footage shows Engelhardt appearing unconscious as she lay on the floor.
“It’s not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen,” Engelhardt later told ABC 7. “I’ve warned [school authorities] time and time again that the children have no respect for adults.
“Yes, I fear for my safety. They can’t control the kids.”
She’s recovering from the attack at home.
Several kids were part of the assault that sent Engelhardt to the hospital. It was reported that students, including the cousin of the student who claimed to be assaulted by Engelhardt, punched and kicked the teacher after she was thrown to the ground.
McKenzie’s attorney maintains his client only did what any parent would do.
“As any loving parent, if someone puts their hands on your child, you’re going to react,” he said.
ABC 7 reported there is no evidence that Engelhardt assaulted a student and no charges against her have been filed. There is, however, video of the violent assault against Engelhardt.
“Yesterday, we saw what we don’t want to see anywhere in any school,” Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association President Elias Mestizo said.
“Many teachers throughout the district and in this school also do not feel safe in the building, and there are reasons for that. And action needs to be taken immediately,” he said.
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