Annika McKenzie and her 14-year-old niece have been arrested after assaulting Catherine Engelhardt, a 22-year veteran math teacher at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead, Long Island. Reportedly, the teacher “put her hands on” McKenzie’s 12-year-old daughter, so McKenzie arrived at the school, passed the security checkpoint and confronted Engelhardt outside of her classroom. She shoved Engelhardt against a wall, put her in the headlock and threw her to the wall. The entire incident was caught on school surveillance cameras.
“It’s not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen,” Engelhardt told WABC Thursday night. “I’ve warned them time and again that the children have no respect for adults. Yes, I fear for my safety. They can’t control the kids.”
“We have teachers saying for more than a year there’s a systemic problem with security of district buildings,” fellow teacher, Elias Mestizo added. “Teachers don’t feel safe. Students don’t feel safe.”
Mestizo said that McKenzie’s daughter called her mom from school and not long after the call, the mom put Engelhardt in a chokehold. The teacher lost consciousness for several minutes, Mestizo said.
McKenzie’s niece jumped in the fight, as did many other students. Allegedly, once Engelhardt hit the floor, many students began kicking and punching her, including Annika’s niece and she’s been charged as a minor. It’s being reported that more teens could face discipline. The investigation has been handed over to Nassau County police.
Meanwhile, McKenzie has been arraigned at Nassau Country’s First District Court and charged with second-degree assault and strangulation. Her bail was set for $5,000.
While we understand Annika McKenzie’s actions, we don’t condone them. How would you react if you found out your kid’s teacher put their hands on your kid? Sound off below in the comments.