Video filmed in Pennsylvania's Hazleton Area High School cafeteria shows a white school police officer punching and pulling the hair of a black teenage student.
A student uploaded video of the incident to Facebook on Monday. In it, a female student can be seen with her arms held behind her back by school police officers and guards, who surround her.
One officer then punches her leg, pushing her face down on a cafeteria table.
The officer then grabs and pulls the girl's hair. Students around her are screaming and calling for officers to let her go.
At the beginning of the video, another girl is led away by officers as she screams "let me go."
A Hazleton High School student uploaded the video with the caption: "This is wrong on so many levels this man violated her patrón talk so much shit when it comes to keeping the school 'safe' wonder how he gonna fix this smh what a school.😡😡"
"The students who were detained were involved in a large altercation with other students in the cafeteria," said the superintendent of the Hazleton Area School District, Brian Uplinger.
Uplinger said officers responded correctly based on their training.
"The security officers and school police officers were within the scope of their training to detain these individuals. Had they not, there would have been additional injuries to other students within the cafeteria," said Uplinger in an email to BuzzFeed News.
The school has both security guards and school police officers. The school principal has not responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment on the incident.
School District Police Chief Ed Harry told local TV station WBRE that the officers were deescalating the situation.
“At that point, the officer had to get that under control immediately. You can see from the snippet of video there were hundreds of kids in the cafeteria, and they were cheering her on, yelling and cheering her on. They needed to deescalate that," Harry told WBRE.
He said at least four students will be expelled because of their behavior. Harry has not responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
The superintendent of the Hazleton Area School District, Brian Uplinger, told WBRE in a statement: "It’s important to know there are always two sides to every story and it's really important for parents and students and community members to get both sides of those stories before going to social media."
Uplinger has not responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
Federal data shows that arrests by school police officers disproportionately affect black students. Black students make up only 15% of school enrollment nationwide, but 30% of students arrested or referred to law enforcement at school.