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Some 30 protesters rallied outside of Hewes Middle School in Tustin, California, on Aug. 13. Photo: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

As children head back to the classroom, a "vocal minority" in the U.S. have resorted to violence or disruptive measures to protest against mask mandates in schools.

Driving the news: While the majority of Americans support the mandates, per a recent Axios/Ipsos poll, back-to-school confrontations across the U.S. have gotten so hot that teachers and other officials have been punched, hit and screamed at.

What's happening:

In Florida, police arrested and charged the father of a Florida high school student with child abuse on Wednesday for allegedly pushing a schoolgirl during an anti-mask protest, per NBC News.

  • Police said a Fort Lauderdale High School student objected to Dan Bauman filming them as part of his stunt and tried to grab his phone.
  • The 50-year-old then allegedly pushed a schoolgirl into a fence and twisted her arm "in an aggressive manner" before school officials stopped him.

In Texas, Tom Leonard, the superintendent of Eanes Independent School District, wrote in a note to parents and staff last week that the return to school has been marked by "a few sad moments."

  • One parent in the Austin-area district allegedly assaulted a teacher by ripping off her face mask, while others yelled at another teacher, claiming they couldn't understand what she was saying due to the face covering.
  • "This is everywhere," Leonard told NPR, saying that he'd spoken to education leaders in California, Illinois and New York who've experienced similar issues.

In Northern California, a parent allegedly left a teacher bleeding and requiring hospital treatment — after the parent tried to attack the principal over masks and the teacher jumped in, KCRA-TV reported.

  • “The teachers have definitely been on edge. They are fearful because the last thing they want is to have an issue with a parent,” Torie Gibson, superintendent of California's Amador County Unified School District, told AP.

In Kansas last week, officials in Douglas County were confronted by angry unmasked protesters who opposed an indoor mask mandate for 2- to 12-year-olds, invoking comparisons to the Taliban and leaders of Japanese internment camps, according to AP.

Even before students headed back to the classroom, school board meetings across the U.S. saw heated confrontations over whether masks should be required for students and teachers.

  • In Nevada and Pennsylvania, meetings this month devolved into verbal arguments so aggressive that police were called in.
  • At least 11 protesters who disrupted a Utah school board meeting in July are facing criminal charges, AP reported.

The big picture: Public health measures like mask and vaccine mandates have become a political flashpoint across the country even as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide due to the Delta variant.

  • Schools districts in Florida and Texas are defying executive orders by their state governors banning such mandates. Schools in Arizona and South Carolina are fighting similar bans.
  • Some colleges and universities, meanwhile, are instituting disciplinary actions against unvaccinated students.

Go deeper: America's patchwork back-to-school plan

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include details of the arrest at Fort Lauderdale High School.

Go deeper

Dec 4, 2021 - Health

Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says

A health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine to a child at a Salvation Army vaccination clinic in Philadelphia on Nov. 12. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer could have data on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy for children under five by the end of the year, CEO Albert Bourla said on Friday in an interview with NBC News.

Why it matters: Omicron has raised concerns that young children are becoming more vulnerable to the virus. Tshwane, the epicenter of South Africa's Omicron outbreak, has seen a high number of hospital admissions for children under two in the last few weeks, though scientists have not confirmed a link to the variant, Reuters reports.

Scoop: Nashville Dems ponder partisan school board races

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

In a move that could end the era of nonpartisan education politics, the Davidson County Democratic Party will soon vote on whether to hold primary elections in Nashville school board races.

  • During a special session last month, the state legislature passed a law allowing county political parties to vote on making school board elections partisan.
  • In an email chain obtained by Axios Nashville, the state Democratic Party urged county officials to embrace the new law and vote in favor of partisan elections if their Republican counterparts do the same.
Updated Dec 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.