District says teacher is on leave after video shows him taking student to the ground

LANCASTER, S.C. — A teacher is on leave from a local school after a video surfaced that appears to show him taking a student to the ground.

It happened during an argument between students at South Middle School in Lancaster earlier this week. A local parent sent that video to Channel 9′s South Carolina reporter Tina Terry. They told Terry they were upset about what happened and felt the teacher could have seriously harmed that student.

Terry learned the school district also received a complaint about the incident and is investigating.

In the video, you can hear and see the commotion inside the middle school, and then a teacher is clearly seen going to the ground with a grip on a student.

Lancaster County School District spokesperson Bryan Vaughn says it all happened during a dispute between two students. He said the teacher stepped in to diffuse the situation.

“There was a pretty ugly altercation and there was a fear that there would be some potential violence occur,” Vaughn said. “One individual pushed a staff member out of the way to try to get to another student.”

But some felt the teacher went too far. One parent reached out to Terry on social media saying, “This is ridiculous! This teacher could have caused serious harm” or could have, “killed this student with slamming him this hard on a concrete floor.”

“Typically, a teacher is allowed to intervene to break up a fight, or keep a third party from being harmed,” Vaughn said. “We want to make sure they complied with those rules and make sure it was justified.”

The teacher is on leave with pay as the district investigates, but some in the community are coming to the teacher’s defense.

“If he felt it was necessary to protect, I’m on his side,” Kevin Edwards said. “Protect the teacher, protect himself, or protect another child from an unruly student, period.”

School officials say there is surveillance video from the incident that they’re looking at. There’s no word on whether the students involved will face any punishment.

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