A Kentucky school district is investigating a physical altercation between a student and teacher that was caught on video. According to the student's account of what happened, the Moore High School teacher made a racially insensitive comment that provoked him, WDRB reports.
The video does not show the beginning of the fight, but the teacher can be seen pinning down a Black student as the student tries to land punches from his back. Other students try to intervene, and eventually another adult comes in and partially separates the two. At one point, the teacher appears to try to land a knee to the student's head while holding on to his hair as the two start to stand upright.
Speaking to WDRB, Jamir Strane, 16, said he is the one in the video being pinned down by the teacher. Strane admits he started the fight, but only after the teacher, identified to WDRB as William Bennett, made a disparaging comment about his race.
"I look at that as getting revenge, because you didn't have no reason to keep pulling my hair," said Strane. "Even as a student is trying to pull you off of me, and you're still fighting me."
Renee Murphy, a spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Schools, said that Bennett has been removed from teaching while the district conducts an investigation.
"So right now exactly what happened is being reviewed, it's being looked at, and while that review is taking place, we know the teacher will not be in the classroom," Murphy said. "The review will talk to witnesses and they will gather more information about any kind of verbal exchanges that took place."
Strane says the teacher criticized his bandana-style neck gaiter, which he uses as a face covering to protect against COVID-19.
"He said, 'You're just going to be another Black boy shot' ... He said that you're just going to end up in the streets dead, in my mind, like all my friends," Strane said.
Strane's mother, Erica, said the teacher's comment was especially triggering since her son was wounded in a drive-by shooting during the summer of 2020.
"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," his mother said. "Like I said, my son — he's not a saint. He has his flaws. But, again, I can understand where the PTSD was triggered."
Social media users claimed the fight started after Bennett used a racial slur. But Strane told WAVE 3 News he did not hear the teacher use a slur.
Strane says he's been suspended from school for 10 days and has been charged with assault. He and his mother plan to fight the charge.
Watch the video below: