Prosecutors announced Monday that a California man accused of engaging in a physical quarrel with a teacher on the first day of school has been charged with three misdemeanors, including battery on a school employee, disruptive presence at a school, and disturbing the peace by offensive language.

A press release from the Amador County District Attorney’s Office identified the suspect as Jason Wages, 49, a resident of Sutter Creek.

“The charges stem from an incident that occurred at Sutter Creek Elementary School on August 11, 2021, over tensions related to the statewide mask mandate at public schools issued by Governor Newsom,” the release said.

Sutter Creek is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento.

According to the Amador Ledger Dispatch, the scuffle “was allegedly the result of a parent being unhappy with their child wearing a mask when the parent picked them up from school.”

FOX 40 News reported, “Wages allegedly saw his daughter and the principal wearing face masks bust also noticed some of the teachers were unmasked while indoors.” Gibson reportedly told the outlet Wages felt like there was “a double standard” because school guidelines did not require fully vaccinated teachers to wear face coverings indoors after students had been dismissed for the day.

Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie F. Gibson notified parents of the alleged incident in a letter dated August 12. “Unfortunately, a parent took it upon himself to verbally assault a principal that led to a serious physical altercation between him and a teacher as the teacher intended to protect the principal,” Gibson wrote.

Gibson emphasized at the time that school administrators and teachers “are not the ones making the rules/mandates,” adding, “we are the ones required to follow/enforce them if we want to keep our doors open and students at school five days a week.”

“Assaulting a staff member will never be tolerated on any school campus and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Gibson wrote.

Gibson said the teacher was treated at an emergency room for injuries sustained while attempting to protect the principal from Wages and released later that day.

Gibson told a local television station “the teacher was bleeding” and “had some lacerations on his face, some bruising on his face and a pretty good knot on the back of his head.”

“The District Attorney’s Office understands that while these are turbulent times and many decisions related to the pandemic are controversial, that does not excuse people using violence to demonstrate their frustration,” prosecutors said.

California was the first state to implement universal masking in K-12 settings. Earlier this month, the Orange County Board of Education voted 4-0 to file a lawsuit against Gov. Newsom over the state’s indoor mask mandate for K-12 students attending public schools. The suit claimed he refused “to give up his emergency powers” and had “misused that power in a way that threatens serious harm” to school kids. The California Supreme Court declined to hear the case last week.

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