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Students at Westwood High School in Mesa held hands Monday morning to show their support for their principal, who disciplined two students for fighting by forcing them to hold hands in front of the student body last week.
The students started to gather at the amphitheater near the center of campus just before 10 a.m.
Student Elizabeth Engle, a Westwood senior, said the "impromptu" event was to "show that we have confidence in Dr. Richards' desire and passion to help guide Westwood High School through the coming years."
Dr. Tim Richards, the school's principal, was admonished by Mesa Public Schools for the punishment, which one of the offenders said was so embarrassing that the teasing forced him to cut classes on Thursday.
The boys were forced to lock hands for about an hour in the middle of campus during lunch. A photo of them completing their punishment also appeared on Facebook.
"The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate," officials said in a statement released Thursday. "District leadership will address this matter with the school principal, and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators."
Still, Richards found support from many parents and students, as well as a sign of support in a front yard that read "Westwood neighborhood supports Principal Richard."
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