A middle school substitute teacher has been “removed from the classroom” after he was caught on video Friday hitting students with his belt as they scrambled away from him. The district took action after the footage ended up on LiveLeak, YouTube, and fight-video clearinghouse WorldStarHipHop.

Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools issued a statement that doesn’t name the belt-wielding man, but promises the case has been referred to the police:

“On Friday, May 15, a substitute teacher used improper actions to discipline students while in one of our classes at Gwynn Park Middle School. The substitute teacher has been removed from the classroom and the matter has been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Prince George’s County Public Schools does not condone this type of behavior and it is not representative of the level of professionalism and respectful conduct of the team at the school. PGCPS works to create a respectful and safe environment for all students and staff.”

Some sites posting the video speculate the teacher was trying to break up a fight among the three boys on the ground, but the statement doesn’t address the kids’ behavior. The sub already has his belt in hand when he enters the frame so, as MyFoxDC points out, it’s also possible they were trying to run away from him.

Nineteen states still allow corporal punishment in schools. Maryland is not one of them.

[h/t Daily Mail]