A high school in Mesa, AZ has received a ton of online criticism for giving two students that were caught fighting a choice: a nine-day suspension, or spend part of the school day holding hands in front of their classmates. Clearly they opted for the latter. The photo of the two Westwood High School students popped up on several social networking sites, where the school was criticized for subjecting the students to ridicule and potential bullying from their peers.

"Kids were laughing at them and calling them names asking, 'are you gay,'" said one student. "I've been in ROTC and it's no different than some of the stuff you have to do there. It works," another added. Though the punishment only lasted for an hour, one of the students14-year-old Charles Crockettsays he's been skipping class to avoid teasing.

Crockett admitted to starting the fight with a sophomore named Julio, and was told that another fight would lead to expulsion. The Mesa  Public School District issued a statement saying that it "does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate," and will address the matter with the school principal.

[via Gawker]