01STOCK_BELOIT_MCNEEL

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

The Beloit Daily News 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 accounts given by the teachers and students in the classroom at the time of the incident.

As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, 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.

The officer spoke with a parent of the student who told the officer the student had reported that a teacher had “duct-taped his mask” to his face and that the student was “not allowed to call home” after the incident. The student’s father also told police that the second teacher in the room at the time of the incident allegedly told the involved teacher “you can’t do that,” in response to the tape being put on the student’s mask.

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

In the report, the student told the officer he could not breathe and removed his mask. 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 back down at his desk before being sent to the front office where he said he sat in the office of the assistant principal.

The teacher, whom the Beloit Daily News is not identifying since no arrest was made in the incident, 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 a mask.

The teacher told the officer she “frequently jokes” with her students, and said she then told the student to pull his mask up or “she would tape it to him,” telling the officer she made the statement as a joke.

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 at the time of placing the tape on the mask was laughing, with the teacher removing the tape from the student’s mask shortly after the incident.

“(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 were 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 involved in the incident placing tape on the student. The other teacher said she did observe “something shiny” on the top portion of the student’s mask, with the other teacher confirming the student was not sent out of the room.

The officer then reviewed security camera footage inside the school to verify aspects of the reports being given, with the officer stating he observed the student “to be walking normally and did not appear to be obviously emotional or disturbed.”

In checking security camera footage of the administrative offices, the officer stated that “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.

Student interviews with the officer show that students 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 claimed the tape was placed around his head like a crown; another claimed a 10-foot piece of tape was placed around the students’ face; another claimed a single piece of tape was put on the student’s head and top part of his mask; and another student having claimed the tape was wrapped around the student’s head and upper neck.

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 from teachers did not coincide” with information being given by other involved parties.

A police department spokesperson confirmed that the investigation into the incident was closed while an investigation into the threats made to school district staff remained open and ongoing.

The department also confirmed that there was no investigation into giving false statements to police stemming from the incident by any party.

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

A protest is planned for 3 p.m. on Friday at the Kolak Education Center, 1500 Fourth St. in support of the family and the student.