The viral video of a Black Louisville, Kentucky, teenager in a fight with his white school teacher traumatized his mother, who is now fighting a school suspension and wants the teacher involved arrested.
“When I showed her the video she just started bawling out crying,” said Jamir Strane, the 16-year-old student who found himself in a fistfight with his high school teacher on Aug. 23 at Marion C. Moore High School.
“I have seen how he was smothering my son. He was pulling his hair, he was punching him. Kneed him in the face, I was just in complete shock,” said Tracy Strane, Jamir’s mother.
Jamir says the scuffle began after his teacher, William Bennett, had mistaken his mask for a bandana and then asked him to report to the office.
“I told him [Bennett] to stop treating me like a n—–r. He called me racist, and you’re just the boy who got shot,” said Jamir.
Jamir says moments later he blacked out and attacked Bennett.
The two fought for several moments until they were separated in the hallway.
Tracy hired attorney Aubrey Williams to help fight off pending criminal charges and reverse his school suspension. They also want Bennett arrested and have since put in the request with a local prosecutor.
“He’s only been a teacher here last year and this year, but there have been incidents involving him at other schools,” Williams said.
Atlanta Black Star received a statement from Jefferson County Public Schools which reads: “The teacher from Marion C. Moore school has been reassigned to non-instructional duties pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Tracy says this experience has triggered her son’s PTSD.
“Not only was he in a drive-by shooting a year ago, this stuff brings forth a lot of trauma and to go through this in a place where I think he should feel safe, and not judged or feel any type of racism, I’m just ashamed at our school system,” she said.
The community has rallied support for the Stranes, but not everyone is on their side.
“There is a lot of support out there, but on top of that there is a lot of negativity. I had to deactivate my social media. Also with the GoFundMe page, people would donate $5 dollars just to say something mean to me,” she said.
Jamir has hopes of owning his own business one day as either a carpenter or a construction worker. Before that, the sophomore and his mom want to move past this traumatizing experience.
“Right now, I’m focused on my future and focused on school still. That’s the big part of my main focus, is on graduating,” Jamir said.
Williams says he has been dealing with the Jefferson County Public Schools for years with cases surrounding racial issues.
“There’s never been a day, there’s never been a time I didn’t have a case against the Jefferson County School system involving Black students, Black teachers, you name it,” said Williams.
Williams says the fight to keep Jamir in school and to obtain an arrest warrant has just begun. He admits the process will be an uphill battle for the Stranes to receive the justice they want. Adding that in order for the prosecutor to consider the warrant, a police report documenting the school incident must be filed first. Then Jefferson County Public Schools must pursue a pan assault charge against Bennett. Afterward, the prosecutor would then evaluate whether to grant the warrant or not.