Mesa principal punishes students with hand holding

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- A principal at a Mesa high school is making headlines for his unusual choice of punishment for two students.

Tim Richard, who is the principal at Westwood High School, recently had two male students hold hands in front of their classmates.

The boys reportedly got into a fight during gym class, prompting Richard to tell them they either had to hold hands for an hour or they would be suspended from school.

The punishment didn’t stay within the school's walls, as a photo of the boys has made its way onto Facebook.

The Mesa Public School District said they don’t support Richard’s punishment.

“The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given to these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate,” said the district in a statement. “District leadership will address this matter with the school principal and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.”

 Late Monday evening 3TV we received these two statements from the district and the principal.

District Administration statement:

Westwood High School is an outstanding institution, motivated by student success. Dr. Timothy Richard has initiated many exciting changes in his first year as principal. The district recognizes the recent events at the school have brought out passionate reactions across a broad spectrum of beliefs. We look forward to refocusing the attention of the Westwood community on the critical mission of student learning and achievement under Dr. Richard's leadership.

Dr. Timothy Richard statement:

I believe in every one of our students and their ability to choose unity, peace and friendship in the pursuit of academic excellence. I am proud of the positive changes the students and staff of Westwood High School have made this year. My hope is that the recent events do not take our eye off the prize -- academic success for every Westwood Warrior.