The principal of a US high school in Mesa, Arizona has been slammed for forcing two boys to publicly hold hands as punishment for fighting.
According to ABC News, the Westwood High School pupils were given the option by principal Tim Richard of being suspended or sitting in the courtyard for 15 minutes during lunch and holding hands.
“Kids were laughing at them and calling them names, asking, ‘Are you gay?’” pupil Brittney Smyers told ABC affiliate KNXV.
Some school pupils took pictures of the boys, who tried to hide their faces, and posted the images on Facebook.
One of the teens was identified as 14-year-old Charles Crockett, who told CBS5 that he has missed classes because he was still being teased about the incident.
“They was making fun of me and everything and I just wanted to yell at them but I couldn’t. I just put my head down,” Crockett said.
The school district was not impressed when it learned of the incident and issued a statement criticising the punishment.
“The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate,” read the statement.
“District leadership will address this matter with the school principal and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.”