A Kentucky teacher was fired after a cell phone video of him assaulting a Black student and pulling his hair went viral.
According to the Insider, William Bennett, a former science teacher at Marion C. Moore School in Louisville, was terminated by the Jefferson County Public Schools district on Dec. 16. He was placed on reassignment during the pending investigation. However, the probe concluded that he “escalated the situation” and made “inappropriate comments” about the student, the termination letter stated.
As News Onyx previously reported, the incident in August 2021 was captured on security footage when the student, 16-year-old Jamir Strane, appeared to have initiated the altercation by punching Bennett in the back of the head. Then, Bennett “caught the student” and put his “whole body weight on top of him.”
White school teacher fights Black student!
Marion C. Moore School in Louisville, Kentucky Teacher told the student, "You're just gonna be another Black boy shot." pic.twitter.com/N6jtcpTNaT
— WOKEVIDEO (@wokevideo) August 27, 2021
After the videos were posted to social media, students who witnessed the incident can be heard shouting, “Get the f**k off him,” to the ex-teacher as they tried to help Strane, who was pinned underneath him. In the video, a school official stepped in to end the altercation, but Bennett can be seen still gripping the teen’s hair.
While the incident was de-escalated, the letter disclosed that Bennett followed Strane down the hallway and “proceeded to engage in the altercation.”
He reportedly had a verbal exchange with the teen and kicked him.
Bennett admitted that he said something to Strane “about being shot,” which “provoked” the student to engage in a verbal encounter with him.
An unidentified student cited in the report stated that he overheard Bennett tell Strane he was “just another Black boy that got shot.”
The 16-year-old disclosed to media outlets that he was shot in a drive-by shooting in 2020. He initiated the first punch to Bennett after the teacher said he was “going to end up in the streets dead,” Insider reported.
Child Protective Services released a report stating that Bennett’s comments were “triggering” for Strane, “who suffers ongoing emotional trauma as a previous gunshot victim.”
The former teacher informed district investigators that he didn’t perceive his comments to be unfavorable as Strane allegedly bragged about the shooting, the report said.
The former educator also attempted to use Kentucky’s law regarding self-defense and force, which states that a person can use physical force to protect themselves from another individual posing an imminent threat to that person. In addition, he shared photos of his mixed family with investigators to “dispel any myths of being a racist portrayed in the media.”
Though this was not the first school-related incident Bennett has been involved in, Traci Hunt, the Marion C. Moore School principal, told district investigators that the former teacher refused to adhere to the school’s mandatory implicit bias training. He also had a previous encounter with a school counselor before the incident with Strane.
On Wednesday, Erica Strane, the student’s mother, filed a lawsuit against Bennett and Jefferson County Public Schools, according to her lawyer, Aubrey Williams.
The lawsuit claims that Bennett reportedly slammed and pounded Jamir, restraining him while “yelling obscenities, profanity and racial slurs at him.”
While the lawsuit cited derogatory words and unnecessary force, the district investigator’s findings concluded differently. “Footage of the incident does not appear to show Bennett punching Jamir or yelling racial slurs at him.
Before teaching at Moore High School, Bennett was previously employed with Hardin County High School in 1998, before teaching at Elizabethtown High School, Nelson County High School, North Bullitt High School, and then hired by JCPS at Male High School before being transferred to Moore, WAVE 3 News reported.