Members of a Minnesota community appear divided after a violent tussle between a teacher and student was recorded on the cell phone of a nearby classmate.
The minute-long video shows Joe Hall, an industrial arts teacher at the school, restraining a student who had been involved in a fight with another student. Hall puts the boy in a headlock, slams his face against a desk, and throws him against a wall in the video clip.
“That’s enough, Mr. Hall,” one student says roughly halfway through the altercation.
After a brief pause, the student cocks his fist as if to strike Hall, who quickly re-engages the student in an aggressive manor.
“Are you done?” Hall asks the student towards the end of the video. “Sit right there.”
Hall has said he was breaking up the fight in an effort to ensure “student safety and security,” according to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
However, the student – identified as 14-year-old Camaar Abdul-Kadir – was bullied by the student and then assaulted by the teacher, according to his mother. She said her son was simply acting in self-defense.
Following a conference Tuesday night, Champlin Park High School officials announced the Somali student was arrested after the encounter and later suspended.
"We are fairly confident in saying the situation was not based on race or ethnicity," district spokeswoman Mary Olson said. "That's sometimes something that people automatically assume but I want to make it clear that's not the case."
Olson did announce, however, that the incident is under investigation.