A high school principal in Pittsburg, Calif. suspended 10 students who forwarded a photo of him putting a female student in a chokehold as he was trying to break up a fight, according to KTVU in California.
Pittsburg High School principal Todd Whitmire told KTVU that he suspended the students because of the inappropriate and racist captions attached to the photo, but some students are arguing that they were just exercising their right to free speech.
The photo went viral on Facebook soon after it was posted, according to KTVU.
Ashley Johnson, the student Whitmire tried to restrain as he was breaking up the fight, is now in a neck brace.
Whitmire gave his account of the fight to the Contra Costa Times: “I had separated her and she began struggling and I was pushing her away to get her away from the area and she fell down.”
Johnson still holds him accountable for her injury and says he used too much force.
The school district’s associate superintendent told the newspaper that the photo “didn’t tell the whole story” and that Whitmire was concerned for the students’ safety during the fight.
Police told the Contra Costa Times that there’s no evidence that a battery took place and that no charges are pending.
Video from KTVU is embedded below:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.