The white Kentucky high school chemistry teacher who was caught on cell phone video fighting with a student in August 2021 has been fired.
According to The Courier Journal, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) terminated William Bennett last month after its investigation lined up with the cell phone footage of the science teacher attacking 16-year-old student Jamir Strane in the halls of Marion C. Moore High School.
A 24-page termination letter, obtained by The Courier Journal, revealed investigators found Bennett used excessive force against and made disparaging comments toward Strane.
Bennett also violated the state’s educator code of ethics by failing to disclose previous educator certification cases brought against him and a previous firing from a teaching job on his JCPS application.
Louisville TV station WDRB News reported that Bennet is now facing a lawsuit over the incident. The suit, filed on behalf of Strane, accuses the school district of negligent hiring and not doing a thorough background check. It also states the altercation started after Bennett told the 16-year-old, “You’re just going to be another Black boy shot — referencing a drive-by shooting Strane survived when he was 15.
Per JCPS’ investigation, the Aug. 23 incident began with a verbal altercation between Bennett and Strane regarding the appropriateness of Strane’s mask. Bennett told investigators that he believed the teenager had headphones hidden under his bandana face covering and that Strane became aggressive when he was asked to wear a different mask, WDRB reported.
The incident report stated Bennett tackled Strane in the school’s hallway, pulled his hair for about a minute, and tried to hit Strane with his knees. However, Strane told WDRB News he was the one who was suspended for 10 days and charged with assault following the incident.
WDRB shared that Bennett has not appealed his termination, according to JCPS Communications Manager Mark Herbert.