The son of the Bothell High School teacher attacked in his shop on Thursday says he can’t understand why anyone would target his father. Cal Pygott, 63, was treated at a hospital and is home recovering. Classes at the school were canceled Friday.
The son of Cal Pygott, the Bothell High School shop teacher who was bashed over the head in an after-school attack, says he has no idea why someone would target his father.
“This is just a complete shock to us, and we don’t understand how someone could do such a thing to such a well-liked teacher and person in general. It’s hard to even fathom,” said Erik Pygott. “He’s a great teacher, he’s been a great dad. He’s a great grandfather to my kids and my sister’s kids … We haven’t met anyone who wouldn’t like him.”
Police tape lined Cal Pygott’s workshop Friday morning, as police investigated the Thursday afternoon attack. Detectives from the Bothell Police Department are reviewing security video that may help identify a suspect, Sgt. Ken Seuberlich said during a news conference.
Erik Pygott said his father was home Friday recuperating after his ordeal.
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“He went home last night and is just trying to recover. From a physical standpoint, (he’s) OK. Emotionally, not quite so.”
The elder Pygott thought he was alone in the shop room when someone sneaked behind him and struck him over the head with an unknown object, knocking him out, his son said.
“He was alone … working on a machine and had ear protection on, and he thought the door was closed. It must not have latched or something. I don’t know if it was closed or open or what,” said Erik Pygott.
Then, he added, “Someone came in and did a cowardly blow to the back of the head.”
Erik Pygott said his father lost consciousness, but came to with a zip tie wrapped around his neck, choking him.
“He said that he tried to get some wire cutters to cut it and … got outside of his classroom and was able to wave someone down and yell for help before collapsing again,” his son said. “She (another teacher) saw and was able to cut the tie and call 911.”
After the attack, police temporarily locked down Bothell High but could not find the assailant.
Classes were canceled on Friday but will resume on Monday, according to Northshore School District Superintendent Larry Francois.
In a message on the district’s website, Francois called the attack alarming.
Bothell police will provide “additional resources” to the school to ensure the safety of staff, Seuberlich said.
Erik Pygott said it was difficult seeing his father at Harborview Medical Center after the attack.
“It was rough, but he just was so happy to see us and we were so happy to see he was well, for the most part, and that he was talking. A lot of relief came.”
Erik Pygott said his father has taught at Bothell High School since 2000. He described him as an excellent teacher.
“He would kind of joke with (students) and he got to know them … and tried to treat them more like an adult and give them some responsibility,” he said.
The Seattle Times profiled Pygott and his Construction Academy nine years ago.
Erik Pygott took his father’s class when he attended Bothell High School.
“He read the class well. He treated everyone with respect, with the knowledge that they would treat him with respect. … If someone was dinking around, they got disciplined appropriately as any teacher would do. In the shop, there’s a lot more danger involved. Safety was a big thing.”
Erik Pygott said he has not spoken to the woman who helped his father immediately after the attack.
“I just want to thank her from the bottom of my heart. It’s just a miracle she was there,” he said.