LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) says it’s investigating a “physical altercation” between a Marion C. Moore student and teacher. Now-viral video of the fight sparked demands for answers and a protest at the school Monday afternoon.
The fight happened in the hallway of the school on Outer Loop.
The video, which does not show the beginning of the fight, shows the student throw punches at the teacher as the teacher pins the student, face up on his back, firmly to the ground. It also shows the white teacher launch a knee toward the Black student’s face before hoisting him by his hair as multiple people, including other students, try to pull the teacher away.
Jamir Strane, 16, says he was the student involved in the fight.
Strane says he initiated the fight with a chemistry teacher — who he and others identified as William Bennett — but believes the teacher went overboard in his response.
“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.”
Monday afternoon, video of the fight caused protest outside the school and caused the district to respond.
Renee Murphy, a spokesperson for JCPS, says the teacher has been removed from the classroom while the district investigates the fight.
“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 there was a verbal exchange by the teacher that set him off. He says the teacher criticized his bandana-style neck gaiter, which he was using as a face covering to protect himself during the COVD-19 pandemic.
“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.”
To Strane and his mom, Erica Strane, a statement like that is particularly triggering. Strane, then 15, was shot in a summer 2020 drive-by shooting.