01STOCK_BELOIT_MCNEEL

BELOIT

A police report lists differing accounts of a report of a child having a mask taped to his face Oct. 26 at McNeel Intermediate School.

Adams Publishing Group obtained the police report of the incident by way of a request for documents under the Wisconsin open records law.

The police report appears to show differing accounts given by the student and his parents and that of the teachers and students in the classroom at the time of the incident.

As previously reported by Adams Publishing Group, Beloit police did not make any arrests in the case and the officer tasked with investigating the incident said there was no evidence of a crime being committed.

According to the report, the student told the officer he removed his mask because he could not breathe while wearing it. The student claiming the teacher said she was “sick of the matter” and “done with the matter” before wrapping the tape around his head approximately five times.

He also stated that the teacher prevented him from leaving the classroom and was told to sit at his desk before being sent to the front office where he said he sat in the office of the assistant principal.

The investigating officer spoke with a parent of the student who reported that a teacher had “duct-taped his mask” to the child’s face and that the student was “not allowed to call home” after the incident.

The student’s father also told police that another teacher in the room at the time of the incident said “you can’t do that” to the teacher taping the mask to the student’s face.

The officer also reviewed a photo of the back of the student’s neck that appeared to show redness from tape having adhered to the student’s skin.

The teacher, whom Adams Publishing Group is not identifying because no arrest was made, told the police officer she initially asked all students in the class to wear their masks properly before addressing an individual student. The teacher said the student said he hated wearing masks and that he could not breathe when wearing one.

The teacher told the officer she told the student to pull his mask up or “she would tape it to him.” She made the statement as a joke, she told the officer.

The teacher confirmed she walked toward the student after ripping off a piece of tape and putting it on the front of the student’s mask. The teacher said the student was laughing at that moment and before the teacher then removed the tape from the student’s mask.

“(The teacher) stated (the student) laughed about the incident and proceeded to put his mask on properly while continuing with class,” the report states. “(The teacher) stated (the student) did not get mad or angry and everyone in the class was laughing along with him.”

The teacher also said she did not send the student to the office after the incident and that the school’s administration was not involved in the matter.

The other teacher in the room said she was focused on trying to get students to do their school work at the time of the incident and did not observe the teacher placing tape on the student. The other teacher said she did observe “something shiny” on the top portion of the student’s mask. The other teacher also said the student was not sent out of the room.

The officer then reviewed security camera footage inside the school to verify aspects of the statements given. From a review of the video, the officer said “at no point in time did (he) observe (the student) walk into or out of the (assistant principal’s) office.”

The officer also stated that he talked with administrators and office staff who stated the issue was not brought to the attention of staff and that the student was not seen in the assistant principal’s office while allegedly being denied the ability to call his parents.

Students interviewed by the officer gave multiple accounts of how and where the tape was placed on the student.

One student claimed the tape was put around the student’s face. Another said tape was wrapped around the student’s head and upper neck. The tape was placed around his head like a crown, according to a different student. Yet another claimed a 10-foot piece of tape was placed around the students’ face. But there was also a student who recalled a single piece of tape put on the student’s head and top part of his mask.

One of the students interviewed said the teacher “appeared to be playing around” when placing the tape on the student and stated that “everyone was laughing about this incident and (the student) looked like he knew it was a joke.”

After interviewing both the teachers and the family, the officer informed “all parties that information obtained ... did not coincide” with information being given by other involved parties.

A police department spokesperson confirmed that the investigation into the incident was closed. However, the spokesperson said an investigation into threats made against school district staff, in reaction to the alleged mask-taping incident, remained open and ongoing.

The department also confirmed that it was not pursuing allegations of false statements to police by anyone involved.

Parents of the student could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.

A protest of the teacher’s alleged mask taping is planned for 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Kolak Education Center, 1500 Fourth St., in support of the family and the student.

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