Joel Christie, Daily Mail, April 17, 2015
A middle school teacher is recovering in hospital in New York after being viciously assaulted by one of her student’s mothers and the woman’s 14-year-old niece.
The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead.
Police say the parent, Annika McKenzie, 34, walked into the building without being cleared by security and waited in the hallway for her daughter’s math teacher, Catherine Engelhardt.
McKenzie believed Engelhardt had ‘put her hands’ on her 12-year-old daughter earlier in the day, according to ABC 7.
Engelhardt refused to speak with McKenzie, telling her to first get a security pass.
A fight then ensued.
Authorities say the teacher was shoved against the wall, placed in a headlock and thrown to the floor.
Several students also became involved in the attack, including McKenzie’s 14-year-old niece.
Another teacher was able to break up the melee and attend to Engelhardt.
She was unconscious for several minutes and rushed to Winthrop University Hospital.
Engelhardt, a mother and teacher of 20 years, has since been released and is recovering at home ‘in a lot of pain’, according to Newsday.
Speaking from her home to ABC 7, Engelhardt said she has long feared for her safety at the school.
‘It’s not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen,’ she told the network.
‘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 the kids.’
The attack was caught on the school’s security cameras and the tapes were turned over to police.
Police said they received the 911 call about 2 pm.
McKenzie and her niece were arrested at the scene.
Both were charged with second-degree assault on school grounds, a felony, while McKenzie was also charged with second-degree strangulation.
She appeared in First District Court in Hempstead without an attorney on Thursday.
Bail was set at $5,000 cash or $7,500 bond, but it is unclear if she posted.
Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association President Elias Mestizo acknowledged that many staff have voiced their concerns about safety.