Last week a teacher in California forcibly cut a student’s hair while singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ Police arrested Margaret Gieszinger and charged her with multiple crimes. Now new details about Gieszinger’s frame of mind along with details about the events that transpired have come to light through the police investigation. One of the students involved in the case is also considering legal action against the teacher for her outburst.
In an Instagram video, that has now gone viral, Gieszinger is seen forcing a male student to sit down. After he sits down, she starts to cut his hair. While snipping off the locks of the student’s head, she belted out the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’
When police arrived at University Preparatory High School (UPHS) last week, they arrested her for child endangerment along with other charges. During her interview with police, Gieszinger provided her take on why the situation unfolded.
According to a report on KFSN, police asked the teacher if she realized how scary the incident was for the children. Gieszinger responded to the police, “I bet.”
When they pressed her for more details, she provided an interesting story. Gieszinger said one of the boys in the class, a foreign exchange student, lived with her in her home. She said she needed to give him a haircut for acting like a ‘ding dong.’ Gieszinger continued that she was sorry she cut the other student’s hair, but it was already done.
The principal of the school said that Gieszinger’s story was slightly different when he spoke to her. After the incident, the principal asked the teacher why she cut the students’ hair. Gieszinger told him that she cut their hair because the students were using cell phones in the class.
The principal provided the same statement to the police. Additionally, the principal told authorities he had received complaints from students on Monday about Gieszinger’s troubling behavior over cell phones.
Following her arrest, police confiscated her purse, two pairs of scissors, and hair found in her purse and a bathroom drawer.
On Friday the court formally charged the teacher with two counts of battery, two counts of willful cruelty to a child, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of assault. If convicted of all the charges, she faces up to three and a half years in prison. After her arraignment, Gieszinger posted $100,000 bond and is free until her next court date.
Attorney Mark Vogt, who represents the student who had his hair cut, said they are considering taking legal action against the teacher. Vogt told KFSN that since the event the boy has not returned to school and is unsure if he ever will.
“He couldn’t believe what was happening. He frankly didn’t know what to do, and he thought to himself, me or anybody else, she’s coming for someone else. And then the video, of course, we see that later. But he was absolutely terrified,” Vogt said.
Vogt said he plans to file a claim with Tulare County Office of Education. If the district rejects the claim, they will pursue civil action against the district and Gieszinger.
On the Commission of Teaching Credentials website, Gieszinger’s license was briefly suspended in 2007 and 2016. There are no details regarding the reasons for the suspensions.
Finally, Gieszinger’s future as an educator at UPHS has officially come to an end. The principal announced that she would no longer work for the district. Gieszinger started working for the school in August 2018.
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