One angry New York mom is facing charges of second-degree assault and strangulation after authorities say she beat a Hempstead, N.Y., middle school teacher to the point of unconsciousness, the New York Daily News reports.
Annika McKenzie, 34, is accused of attacking 22-year Hempstead School District teaching veteran Catherine Engelhardt outside her classroom 2 p.m. Wednesday, allegedly because the teacher “put her hands on” McKenzie’s 12-year-old daughter, authorities said.
According to the report, McKenzie walked past a security checkpoint and confronted the teacher, shoving Engelhardt against a wall before putting her in a choke hold and throwing her to the floor. Engelhardt reportedly lost consciousness for a while, and once she was on the ground, she was punched and kicked by students, including McKenzie’s 14-year-old niece, police said, according to the Daily News.
“A juvenile female, relative of the adult, began to punch the teacher in the head,” Hempstead Police Chief Michael McGowan told Newsday.
“She’s taught in the middle school for over 20 years. She’s very passionate and committed about her job,” Elias Mestizo, another middle school teacher, said to the Daily News regarding Engelhardt. “I was talking to parents today, and all spoke highly of her.”
McKenzie was arraigned in the incident Thursday and charged with second-degree assault and strangulation. Her bail was set at $5,000. McKenzie’s niece, who remained unidentified, is being charged as a minor. Other teens involved could face discipline, according to the New York Daily News.
“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 of her ordeal. “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.”