Hand-holding as punishment: Just fine or too far? - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Hand-holding as punishment: Just fine or too far?

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MESA, Ariz. -

This photo is making the rounds -- two teenage boys at a high school in Mesa, Ariz., forced to hold hands during lunch as punishment for fighting. But did the penalty go too far?

The two students from Westwood High School, located near 8th St and Alma School, are seen hiding their faces in the photo. Dozens of other students stand around them and watch.

The teens chose this form of punishment as an alternative to a suspension. Dr. Tim Richards, a fairly new principal at Westwood, gave them a choice – hold hands or be suspended for fighting.

But is this kind of humiliation appropriate in a public school? Some classmates say the two teens are taking a lot of heat on campus.

FOX 10's Andrew Hasbun talked to students. Most of them say Dr. Richards did the right thing. However, the district sees it differently.

"The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate," an official stated.

What is not clear is whether or not the students' parents knew about the punishment and agreed to it.

As for what might happen to the principal, the district only said they will address the matter with him.

Full statement by Helen Hollands, Communications Director for Mesa Public Schools

Mesa Public Schools is dedicated to maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment. The district has guidelines for appropriate student discipline, and our site administrators have the authority to impose consequences within our policies and regulations. The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate. District leadership will address this matter with the school principal, and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.

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