A 16-year-old Black student who got into a gruesome fight with his chemistry teacher said he got physical with the adult male after he allegedly told him he’s “going to be another Black boy shot” during an altercation leading up to the incident.
According to The Courier-Journal, the incident happened at the Marion C. Moore School in Kentucky. Videos of the fight were circulated on Facebook but they were later taken down by the social media platform.
The Black student, identified as Jamir Strane, said his PTSD got triggered after the teacher used those words against him, and things escalated from there. The teen said he was hit in a drive-by shooting last year.
In the video of the fight, the White teacher, identified as William Bennett, can be seen locking Jamir on the floor while the Black student tries punching him. Some students witnessing the incident can be seen trying to break up the fight while others shout at Bennett to get off the teen.
And though the two later get back on their feet, Bennett grabs Jamir’s hair while several people attempt to separate them. The fight is eventually broken up.
In an interview with WDRB, Jamir admitted he started the fight. But he said the teacher both instigated and escalated it. “I look at that as getting revenge, because you didn’t have no reason to keep pulling my hair,” the teen said. “Even as a student is trying to pull you off of me, and you’re still fighting me.”
Jamir said the altercation started after Bennett took issue with a neck gaiter he was using as a face mask. The teen said the accessory was bandana-themed. “He said, ‘You’re just going to be another Black boy shot,’” Jamir recalled Bennett telling him. “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.”
The teen, who said some of his friends have died through gun violence, added he’s “got social anxiety from all the stuff” he has “been through over the last two years.” “It’s eat or be eaten out here,” he said.
His mother also said the teacher’s words contained possibly triggering content. “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,” Jamir’s 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.”
Following the fight, parents and teachers gathered at the school on Monday to protest and demand answers. The Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) said they are looking into the incident and Bennett has been reassigned to non-instructional duties, The Courier-Journal reported.
“There was a physical altercation at Marion C. Moore School between a student and a teacher,” JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said. “A full review of the matter is currently underway and during this time the teacher will not be in the classroom.”
Jamir said he has also been suspended for 10 days and charged with assault. Meanwhile, the teen’s mother has set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds to cover legal fees they may incur and other expenses they may have.
“I will be off of work for as long as it takes to get justice for my son,” she wrote on the page. “I’m dedicating 100% of my time to my son. Every little bit helps. Please keep us in your prayers.”