BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - A Beverly Hills High School wrestling coach was fired by the school district after he allegedly became physically aggressive towards a student during a recent confrontation, but some students are speaking out asking officials to reconsider.
The alleged incident happened Nov. 2 between a student and coach Ryan Faintich.
Campus security video shows Faintich speaking with a student as a small crowd of about seven people is seen looking on from a short distance. Faintich is seen putting his hand on the shoulder of the student, shoving him once, then pushing him another time before leaving. It's unclear what led up to the incident, but Faintich said during a Nov. 22 board hearing he "wanted to protect and safeguard" those on his wrestling team.
According to the Beverly Hills Unified School District, an investigation was conducted, witnesses were interviewed, and the security video was looked over. Faintich was then fired.
"No bullying or record of bullying was ever filed with the high school or district admin," said Dr. Bregy, Superintendent.
"My heart was certainly, as everyone knows, in the right place," Faintich said during the board meeting. "But the choices I made to make contact physically with a student at Beverly Hills was not the correct way to handle the situation."
"While I perceived a threat and while I truly wanted to protect and safeguard my wrestlers, there was a better way to handle," he added.
At the end of his remarks, members of the wrestling team and their parents gave him standing ovation.
Three students spoke on Faintich's behalf, calling him a "great mentor" and "such a great person."
"He should have a second chance after he did something that many say is heroic. That shows badly on us. I think we should do our best to reconsider and take a look at the facts… take a look at what Coach Ryan has done for everyone and just look this all over again," one student said.
"I just think that it's pretty clear from all the people that have shown up for this meeting today how much we all actually care about Ryan… it's because he's such a great person. He has impacted our lives as wrestlers and as people," another student said. "I've never had another mentor like him.. he's been an inspiration to me as long as I've know him, and I do think that firing him would be such a great loss."
Some say the student Faintich shoved had bullied and assaulted a wrestler and Faintich was only trying to help.