A Prince George's County high school principal is on leave after a video circulated on social media showing him and a student in an apparent altercation.
Police are working to piece together what happened in the hallway at Charles Herbert Flowers High School after the 17-year-old student was kicked out of class Wednesday for allegedly being disruptive. Principal Gorman Brown was then asked to look for the student and found him in the hallway, police said.
Police say a video of Brown and the student widely shared on social media captured the last few seconds of what had been nearly two hours of conflict.
The video, which another student captured, appears to show a physical fight between Brown and the student.
"There were a number of confrontations occurring between this student and faculty, and we're going to get to the bottom of each of those," Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Thursday.
Some said on social media that Brown struck the student, but Stawinski said the video shows a different picture when it is slowed down.
"The video, when slowed down and examined critically, demonstrates that the student places his hand in the face of the principal. What is viewed by some to be a blow, we believe is actually the principal swiping the hand away," Stawinski said.
A school resource officer said he saw the student assaulting Brown and used foam pepper spray on the student. The officer took the student into custody and brought him to the nurse's office.
The student's face was washed and he refused further medical treatment.
"That student was charged with an assault that was viewed by the officer as this occurred," Stawinski said.
Police say the student was released from custody.
The school told parents that Brown will be on leave as police investigate.
"The safety of our students and staff members is our top priority. Safe learning environments are our collective responsibility. Today’s incident is not in line with our school mission and values," the school's letter said.
News4 spoke to a group of Flowers High School seniors who say they support their principal.
"I know they have to do an investigation, obviously. That's always the correct thing to do, but I think afterward they should obvioulsy reinstate him," student Michael Akinsola said.
"Mr. Brown is a good person, a good principal. He cares about the students personally," Isata Kamara said.
Police are also relying on surveillance video from inside the school hallway to help in their investigation.