Hempstead mom back in court in teacher attack case

A Hempstead mom accused of attacking her daughter's teacher was back in court Tuesday on assault charges.

Annika McKenzie, 34, allegedly got past security at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead last week.

McKenzie's attorney Donald Rollock repeated his claim that his client went to confront the teacher only after the teacher allegedly "grabbed" her 12-year old daughter earlier in the day. He says security footage from inside the school should "clear his client."

"You have a still picture of her laying there. How do we know she's not faking?" asked Rollock. "When we look at that video, it will show exactly what happened and we'll be able to make determinations about whether [the teacher] is credible or not."

The teacher, identified as Catherine Englehardt, is still recovering at her home and refused to comment to News 12. Elias Mestizo, the president of the Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association, strongly defended her and said the same video will prove Englehardt is truly the victim.

"She was assaulted. She went unconscious for a couple of minutes and she was hurt for doing her job," said Mestizo.

The Hempstead Village Police say the district handed over the security tape. They say the incident is still under investigation.

Rollock told News 12 that McKenzie's 12-year old daughter has been suspended from the middle school out of "retaliation." It was not immediately clear why the student was suspended.

A spokesman for Hempstead School District had no comment about the incident or the suspension.

Parents who demanded answers at a Hempstead School Board meeting Tuesday night found little insight into what security measures the school has taken after the attack.

About five minutes after the meeting started, the school board left the room to go into executive session. Parents were left waiting for more than two hours.

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