Principal 'saddened' by video showing school employee pinning student on concrete
PONCHATOULA - A teacher fired after a viral video showed him breaking up a fight by pinning a student on the ground defended his actions in court Wednesday.
Rusty Barrilleaux has been fighting to get his job back after he was fired in the wake of the video's surfacing back in March. The video, which caught the tail end of a fight between two students, showed Barrilleaux and another teacher pinning a female student to the concrete and shouting profanity.
The video circulated online and drew outrage from many parents.
But Barrilleaux argued he was operating within his duties as "lead disciplinarian" when he intervened, Action News 17 reported. He claimed he was trying to de-escalate the fight after one of the students allegedly struck another teacher. He also maintained he held nothing against the juvenile, saying he even "saved" the girl from being arrested after the fight.
The biggest sticking point for Barrilleaux's attorneys was that there was a lack of directive in how to handle student fights within the school system. That sentiment was echoed by some of his fellow teachers last month when they staged a walk-out after his firing.
Tangipahoa Parish Superintendent Melissa Stilley and other schools officials argued the nature of Barrilleaux's response, specifically the use of force and profanity, did not adhere to their professional standards.
No decision to uphold or overturn Barrilleaux's firing has been made at this time.
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