Students at a Louisville, Kentucky, high school staged a walkout on Aug. 24 after a fight involving a teacher and a student the day prior.
A Kentucky teacher seen pinning a Black student to the floor and gripping his hair in a viral video captured on Monday has been reassigned to no instructional duties, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Public Schools said on Tuesday.
“There was a physical altercation at Marion C. Moore School between a student and a teacher,” JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said. “A full review of the matter is currently underway and during this time the teacher will not be in the classroom.”
But students called for the teacher to be fired during the Tuesday protest. The walk-out, which followed a protest outside the school the previous day after the video began circulating, was approved by administration beforehand and students agreed to stay on school grounds.
Other protesters also attended the demonstration, standing in solidarity with the students.
“We are not standing for [any] type of racism. We are not standing for [any] type of bigotry. We are not standing for [anything] but what’s right at this point in justice,” local man Bradley Temple told WLKY.
The Aug. 23 fight in a hallway at the Louisville school between 16-year-old Jamir Strane and a chemistry teacher who has been identified as William Bennett reportedly began after an argument about the student’s bandana-style face covering.
The recording was captured by a schoolmate. When the video starts, Strane is pinned to the ground and Bennett is on top of him
“Get off him!” students standing in the hallway yell. Some students tried to intervene and attempted to pull Bennett off Strane. Other adults entered the struggle and lifted Bennett off the student but as the two stood up and Strane continued striking Bennett, the teacher gripped the teenager’s hair.
“Let go of him!” students can be heard saying as the struggle continued.
Strane was suspended for 10 days and faces an assault charge. He told WDRB Bennett made comments that provoked him before the fight, but admitted he initiated the physical confrontation.
“He said, ‘You’re just going to be another Black boy shot,'” said Strane. “I’m going to put it in English. He said that you’re just going to end up in the streets dead, in my mind, like all my friends.”
Strane was shot last year during a drive-by shooting, has lost friends to gun violence, and found the statement particularly triggering.
“To be told that you’re just another boy that’s going to be shot dead, I could see where that could trigger his PTSD,” said the teen’s mother, Erica Strane. “Like I said, my son — he’s not a saint. He has his flaws. But, again, I can understand where the PTSD was triggered.”
Strane and his mother are seeking a lawyer to fight the assault charge. A GoFundMe page to cover legal fees for the family has raised more than $2,400 as of this writing. “As many as you may know my son has been attacked by his teacher we are starting a go fund me page for any lawyer fees that might be incurred and Expenses we may have. I will be off of work for as long as it takes to get justice for my son. I’m dedicating 100% of my time to my son. Every little bit helps. Please keep us in your prayers,” wrote Erica Strane.
This week, students called for “justice” for Strane amid the assault charge.
An investigation into the incident remains ongoing. Bennett has denied allegations of wrongdoing on social media.