You would think that everyone knows this simple and unspoken rule: You don't yell at other people's children. One guy in La Crescenta, California apparently didn't get that memo, and parents are now coming after him.
An unidentified man has taken it upon himself to approach school children and taunt them about wearing face masks.
Mask wearing has been an ongoing point of conflict since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, even with countless studies proving their ability to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
In a YouTube video posted by Raw Story of a CBS Los Angeles news segment, the grown man wore a shirt that read, "Your mask makes you look stupid," as he hurled insults at middle school students, calling them a "bunch of idiots."
Parent Emily Lanigan commented to CBS Los Angeles:
"Clearly there is a problem here, not just a mental health problem but an anger management issue where he feels compelled to attack people who are more vulnerable than him."
Parents of elementary and middle school La Crescenta students are claiming that the man has been following their kids around for months to harass them about wearing masks.
Another parent identified as Ned told CBS LA:
They're obviously getting scared. He was getting 3-5 inches away and coughing in their faces.
CBS LA explained that that Ned confronted the strange man after catching him yelling at kids in a parking lot. In the recorded confrontation, the man yelled at Ned:
"My kids are forced to wear a f**cking mask, so f**ck you!"
Ned tried to calm the stranger down, but he continued to yell:
"You're a f**cking idiot! Masks don't work, they're f**cking child abuse."
Police were called to the scene, but the responding officer couldn't determine if a crime was committed.
To add insult to injury, Lanigan explained what the officer did next:
“He decided to lecture the kids about freedom of speech instead of taking their names and writing an incident report."
Parents got better results when they reported the man to the sheriff's office for criminal harassment. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Lt. Robert Hahnlein, told CBS LA that police have identified the man and are investigating the alleged incidents.
Hahnlein was sympathetic to the parents in the situation:
“I have sympathy for the parents. If my kids were there when this happened, I would be upset too and I would want something done.”
Police have not yet shared the man's name with the public, nor have they explained what crimes the man could potentially be charged with.
Comments under the YouTube video highlighted the man's irrational behavior:
ABC All aBout Children/YouTube
People also shared their thoughts on the man's behavior, and the parents' responses, on Twitter:
Very true! If you are so concerned about child abuse, not verbally abusing children is a good place to start.
Some Twitter users expressed doubt in the sheriff department's ability and willingness to do anything about the harassment:
Only time will tell if the man sees any consequences for his actions, but it seems like a no-brainer that an adult aggressively approaching minors should be reprimanded.