A recent viral video shows a teacher in Italy slapping a student who refused to wear a face mask in the classroom.
The incident occurred in a southern Italian town named Teggiano in early October, Gentside reports. Students filmed the altercation between the student and teacher, later sharing the video online. The video has since made the rounds, leading to an investigation by Italian authorities.
Italy curbed its COVID-19 cases with a strict lockdown after initially getting hit hard in February and March, but its infection numbers have been on the rise lately, and the country set a new daily case record over the weekend. The country imposed a nationwide outdoor mask mandate earlier this month as infections rebounded. The mandate also requires citizens to wear masks indoors everywhere except in private homes.
This nationwide anxiety and increase in COVID-19 infections likely prompted the teacher to lose his composure. The 15-year-old student he struck reportedly refused to wear a mask during the class lecture on health measures. The video shows the black-clad teacher slapping the student across the face, then grabbing him by his hood and shaking him.
The faculty and students at Pomponio Leto Arts High School, where the incident took place, quickly condemned the video. The teacher acknowledges his problematic actions in the video itself. Even as he strikes the student, he says, "You're wrong and I'm wrong too."
No complaints have yet been filed, but the video did spark an investigation by the Italian Carabinieri, which primarily carries out domestic policing duties. The Carabinieri aims to "reconstruct the dynamics of the events in order to shed light on the altercation," according to Gentside. A spokesperson for the Carabinieri said the professor could face prosecution.
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