VIDEO: Visalia teacher arrested for forcibly cutting kid's hair in class while singing 'Star Spangled Banner'

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Visalia teacher now in jail after forcibly cutting student's hair while singing Star Spangled Banner
Visalia teacher now in jail after forcibly cutting student's hair while singing Star Spangled Banner

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Visalia high school teacher is in jail after forcibly cutting a student's hair in class. Video surfaced Wednesday showing 52-year-old Margaret Gieszinger chasing students with scissors between desks while belting out the "Star Spangled Banner" at University Preparatory High School.

RELATED: 'She didn't hurt anybody': Family of Visalia teacher who cut student's hair speaks out

It was first period inside Gieszinger's chemistry class and a bizarre chain of events is about to take off. Students say the teacher came into class with a pair of scissors declaring it was hair cut day.

"We think she's going to try to be funny and be like 'Oh did you really think I was going to cut his hair?' But she did cut a hair off, and she started singing the Star Spangled Banner and she was singing it really loudly as she ceremoniously tossed a chunk of hair behind her," said a student who wanted to remain anonymous.

RELATED: 'It's not her. It's not who she is': Husband of teacher who cut student's hair says he's shocked, confused

The student says he was sitting in the back of the classroom and ran to the main office for help.

"I hope I never have to see her at the school again, because I know for a fact I can never see her as a respectable authority figure in my life."

RELATED: Teacher had meltdown in class days before scissors incident, say students

The video continues to show Gieszinger grabbing at another girl's hair before everyone makes a run for it out of the classroom. Students say they don't know what triggered her behavior but say she had a similar breakdown earlier this week.

"I know that on Monday she had another freak out because a test was missing or something. She accused the students of taking the test."

RELATED: Visalia teacher accused of forcibly cutting kid's hair in class charged with six misdemeanors

College of the Sequoias Police have since arrested Gieszinger on suspicion of corporal injury to a child. Her bail is set at $100,000.

The Tulare County Office of Education has released a statement regarding the incident:

The staff at University Preparatory High School and the administration at the Tulare County Office of Education are deeply concerned for the students who were subjected to the disturbing behavior in Margaret Gieszinger's class yesterday morning. To support all students on the UPHS campus today, we have sent top counselors from our mental health services program. They will continue to be available to the students as long as necessary.

We take very seriously the safety of the students in classrooms and on the COS campus. We move decisively when questions of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct are brought to the attention of UPHS administration. In this instance, we promptly removed Ms. Gieszinger from her classroom and worked closely with the COS Police Department. We are reviewing all available information and will take the most severe employment action appropriate. Ms. Gieszinger will not return to her UPHS classroom.

A highly-qualified substitute teacher has been placed in the classroom for the remainder of the semester. UPHS administration will work closely with this teacher until a replacement teacher is hired.

At this time, we cannot discuss further the details of this matter out of respect for due process, student privacy rights, employee privacy rights, and law enforcement's ongoing investigation. We appreciate the prompt actions of the COS Police Department, and appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we continue to handle this unfortunate incident.