A middle school teacher from Long Island, New York, was reportedly kicked, strangled, and knocked unconscious by a parent who claimed she had touched her 12-year-old daughter.
The brutal attack took place Wednesday at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead, New York. Math teacher Catherine Engelhardt returned to her classroom to find 34-year-old mom Annika McKenzie and her 14-year-old niece waiting for her, reports ABC 7. The woman reportedly began questioning Engelhardt about an "incident earlier that day" in which she believed the teacher had put her hands on her daughter.
Engelhardt called for security, but before help came, she was allegedly shoved against the wall, placed into a headlock, and thrown to the ground, where several other youths -- including McKenzie's niece -- began kicking her until she was unconscious.
McKenzie was able to enter the building and confront the teacher by bypassing security, reports the Daily Mail. She reportedly began assaulting Engelhardt after the teacher refused to speak with her until she got security clearance.
The abuse continued until another teacher was able to break it up and help Engelhardt. The 20-year teaching veteran, who is also a mother, was unconscious for several minutes before she was transported to Winthrop University Hospital. She is currently recovering at home and is "in a lot of pain," reports Newsday.
"It's not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen," Engelhardt reportedly told ABC 7. "I've warned (the school) time and again that the children have no respect for adults. Yes, I fear for my safety. They can't control kids."
Both McKenzie and her niece were arrested and charged with second-degree assault on school grounds. McKenzie was also charged with second-degree strangulation. Her bail was set at $5,000 cash or $7,000 bond, but it isn't clear whether she has posted it. The teen has been charged as a juvenile and her case will be handled in family court.
According to ABC 7, McKenzie's attorney, Donald Rollock, defended his client by saying, "As any loving parent, if someone puts their hand on your child, you're going to react."