Students rally in support of principal who ordered teens to hold hands as punishment

Students at an Arizona high school are showing their support for a principal who was scrutinized for ordering two male students to hold hands in the middle of campus as punishment for fighting. reports that hundreds of students at Westwood High School in Mesa held an impromptu rally on Monday in support of principal Tim Richards, who punished two male students by giving them the option to hold hands instead of being suspended.

Linsey Merrill, a former Westwood student who now lives across the street, watched the rally in awe, reports.

"I think that's something unheard of, you never see kids supporting their principal like that, I think it's a big deal, I like it," she said.

Others told the station they supported Richards’ actions.

"I think it shows that they care about their education and they care about their school and they are leaders in their school," mother April Mahaffey said.

Mahaffey, whose daughter participated in the rally, wore a T-shirt that read "Keep calm and hold hands" to show her support of Richards.

"Kids nowadays aren't held accountable enough and that's the problem with the world now,” she said. “And I think that it was a perfect punishment for what happened and if my daughter were one of the students I would say go ahead.”

School district officials, however, indicated in a statement last week that while it did not support the punishment doled out by Richards, he will remain principal of the school. The students who rallied on Monday will also not be disciplined, officials said.

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