LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Jefferson County Public Schools has fired the teacher caught on cellphone video fighting with a student and grabbing his hair back in August.
In termination letters obtained by WAVE 3 News, William Bennett was fired by the school district on Dec. 16 “on the basis of insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, inefficiency, incompetency, and neglect of duty.”
Bennett had been placed on reassignment pending an investigation after a video surfaced on social media on Aug. 23 showing Bennett engaging with a student, pinning him on the ground with two other students trying to pull him off and gripping his hair.
JCPS confirmed it had reviewed the security footage, saying the student had initiated the fight and punched Bennett in the back of the head before turning to walk away. Bennett then turned around and grabbed the student, taking him to the ground and placing his whole body weight on top of him.
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The school district said the altercation continued while students tried to get Bennett off, and when administrators stepped in to break up the scene, Bennett would not let go of the student’s hair.
JCPS said the action showed engagement of the altercation despite another adult attempting to de-escalate.
Another video procured by JCPS investigators showed Bennett walking up the hallway to catch up with the student before proceeding to kick him and start another fight. The student ran down another hallway and returned, running into another student.
Documents state as administrators were performing Safe Crisis Management, Bennett once again walked over, saw the student, and told him something that further escalated the situation.
Administrators pulled Bennett away from the scene and separated him as other administrators moved the student down the hallway.
As part of JCPS’ investigation, multiple witnesses into the incident provided statements in the report which began on Aug. 23.
Bennett had been interviewed by investigators on Oct. 21, where he had given statements that was “not consistent” with video evidence. He had said he had not been trained or aware of the school’s policy on use of restraint involving a student.
He had also told investigators he had tried to remove himself from the situation by entering the counselor’s office, despite walking at least 10 feet past the entrance to the office in video footage heading toward the library and allowing Bennett to reengage, kicking the student in the abdomen.
Bennett had worked at multiple schools before teaching at Moore High School. He had previously worked at 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.
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