By Rachel Sweet/Amy Murphy  |
Posted: Mon 5:19 PM, Dec 09, 2019  |
Updated: Tue 7:10 PM, Dec 10, 2019
MASON, MI. (WILX) -- A Mason High School student turned to the police alleging a teacher assaulted her during school hours because she supports President Donald Trump.
Sadie Earegood told NEWS 10 that the teacher involved was Paul Kato.
Paul Kato is the media technology teacher at the high school. Students say that he has not been in school since the alleged incident on Dec. 5, but Mason Schools has not confirmed that.
Earegood claims she was assaulted by Kato when he ripped her "Women For Trump" pin from her shirt.
Earegood is 16 and a junior at the school. She said Kato, started off by saying he didn't like the pin she was wearing.
"I was just really shocked that a teacher would especially do that," she said. "He's talking about the 'Women for Trump' pin and I said, 'that's fine you don't have to like it, we can have our opinions.'"
Earegood described a struggle between herself and the teacher where he tried to take the pin off her.
"He grabbed it and I pulled, I tried to push his hand away and he grabbed my shoulder," she said. "(He) just kind of put his hand there, and then he started pulling more and more and I just started backing up."
She said the teacher then put the pin upside down on his shirt and stated that it belonged that way.
Mason Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki wouldn't talk to us on camera, but he released a statement that read, "Once we have a complete understanding of the situation, we will take appropriate action."
The Earegoods filed a police report.
“I made a criminal assault and larceny report against the teacher," said Capi Earegood, Sadie's mother. "He had no right to put his hands on my child over a pin or anything else. The first amendment gives everyone the right to express their freedom of speech. No one should get that upset about someone wearing a political pin.”
Mason Police Chief Don Hanson confirmed his department is looking into a report of an alleged assault on Dec. 5.
The Mason School District has not confirmed with us that the allegations against Kato are true.
The dress code for Mason High School does not state anything about political paraphernalia not being allowed.
NEWS 10 found this: Clothing that displays alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gang association, weapons, sexual or suggestive references, profanity, violence, intimidation or organizations promoting any of these are not appropriate.
It also states that: the School recognizes the right of students to express themselves. With the right of expression comes the responsibility to do it appropriately. Students may distribute or display, at appropriate times, non-sponsored, non-commercial written material and petitions; buttons, badges, or other insignia; clothing, insignia, and banners; and audio and video materials. All items must meet the following school guidelines: A. A material cannot be displayed if it: 1. is obscene to minors, libelous, indecent and pervasively or vulgar, 2. advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law, 3. intends to be insulting or harassing, 4. intends to incite fighting or presents a likelihood of disrupting school or a school event. 5. Presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or manner of distribution or display, it causes or is likely to cause a material and substantial disruption of school or school activities, a violation of school regulations, or the commission of an unlawful act. 17 B. Materials may not be displayed or distributed during class periods, or during passing times between classes. Permission may be granted for display or distribution during lunch periods and after school in designated locations, as long as exits are not blocked and there is proper access and egress to the building. In order to insure whether or not materials they wish to display meet school guidelines, students must present them to the principal twenty-four (24) hours prior to display.
You can read the full Mason student handbook here.
Earegood said that she won't be silenced and just wants people to know that she will continue to show her political views.
"I just want him to know that it's not okay to do that. I want this to be a learning experience for other teachers, and I'm not going to stop wearing my political stuff."
Paul Kato is originally from Nigeria. He worked to establish a residential soccer school in Nigeria for 10 years, and the school officially opened in 2018.
It's called the Kato International Training Academy (KITA) and it opened with 24 students.
Kato has also coached the high school soccer team in Mason.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, Kato was still listed as a teacher on the Mason Public Schools website.
Kato's lawyer told News 10 that they have no comment while the school is investigating the case.
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