A Kentucky teacher, who can be seen on video pinning a student to the ground, pulling his hair and provoking the student, was fired after a probe by Jefferson County Public Schools found that the teacher “escalated the situation” and made “inappropriate comments,” according to the Insider.
And trust me, some of the comments allegedly said by the teacher are beyond inappropriate.
The teacher, William Bennett, was formerly a science teacher at Marion C. Moore School in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a termination letter obtained by the Insider, it lays out details of the altercation:
The letter stated that the incident, which occurred in August 2021, unfolded as such: the student, 16-year-old Jamir Strane, appeared to have initiated the fracas by punching Bennett in the back of the head, then Bennett “caught the student” and put his “whole body weight on top of him.”
In videos of the incident that have been posted to social media, students witnessing the altercation can be heard yelling, “get the fuck off him” to Bennett and trying to help Strane get out from under him.
Though another adult emerged to deescalate the situation, resulting in Strane walking away from Bennett, the letter states that Bennett “proceeded to engage in the altercation.” Bennett reportedly followed Strane down the hallway, had a verbal exchange with the student, and kicked him.
According to the letter, Bennett admitted to saying something to Strane “about being shot,” which “provoked” the student and set off the initial verbal incident.
But wait, it doesn’t end there.
A student who went unnamed said that he overheard Bennett tell Jamir Strane, the student involved in the altercation, that he was “just another Black Boy that got shot,” according to the Insider.
Damn, that’s low. But it also gets worse.
In an interview with KMOV4, Strane also recalled Bennett saying, “you’re going to end up in the streets dead,” and said the comments reminded him when was shot in July 2020 during a drive-by shooting, which resulted in him throwing the first punch at Bennett.
KMOV4 has more details on how the altercation unfolded for Strane:
Strane claimed the fight started when the teacher objected to the mask he was wearing, which resulted in an aggressive conversation and the alleged comments.
“As I’m transitioning into my fourth period class, which is chemistry, going to his classroom, he tells me I’m not able to walk into his classroom with the bandana that I have on, but it’s a face mask. This is the first time, but I’ve worn it before in the classroom, that’s why I don’t get what he’s saying,” recalled Strane.
Strane said he was kneed in the face and left with a bloody skinned knee near his gunshot wounds. His head was still pounding after the teacher gripped and pulled at his hair. “I understand, I was in the wrong, but you don’t have a right to put your hands on me,” he said.
Bennett, the teacher involved, told investigators with the district that he didn’t think his comments were derogatory since Strane bragged about the shooting, per the report, according to the Insider.
The report also says that Bennett referenced the Kentucky state statute on self-defense and force, which allows a person to defend themselves against physical force if the person deems it necessary. He also showed investigators pictures of his non-white family members to “dispel any myths of being a racist portrayed in the media.”
It’s giving “I’m not racist! I have Black friends!” energy.
The Insider has further details on the investigation:
Traci Hunt, the principal of Marion C. Moore School, told district investigators that Bennett previously refused to complete the school’s mandatory implicit bias training and was involved with a previous incident with a school counselor, leading her to have concerns about his performance as a teacher before the altercation.
The district investigation also revealed that Bennett, who can appeal his recent termination, had at least one other physical run-in with a student at a previous job.
Erica Strane, the mother of the student, filed a lawsuit against Bennett and Jefferson County Public Schools alleging that the teacher slammed and restrained Jamir while yelling “obscenities, profanity and racial slurs at him.” The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages and claims that her son suffered “physical, mental, emotional stress, strain, and humiliation,” according to the Insider.
Although the investigation from the district says the video does not show Bennett punching Jamir or using racial slurs towards him.
In any case, this saga seems to be far from over.