They later clarified he was not fired, and the school board voted to let the teacher retire early, WBND reported.
Jimtown High School teacher Mike Hosinski hit the student during a confrontation on Feb. 25 about a hooded sweatshirt the student was wearing in class, according to a release from Baugo Community Schools in Elkhart.
The district released surveillance video that shows the teacher grabbing the student by the backpack and pushing the student against the wall.
The teacher then stands over the student, pointing his finger at them before slapping them with his hand. The student then falls to the ground as the teacher attempts to guide them down the hallway.
The slap caused the student's head to hit the wall and the student suffered visible injuries, the district said.
There were cheers and applause when the Baugo school board voted in favor of Hosinski's early retirement.
Hosinski has been a teacher at Baugo for 40 years. Many were shocked when video of him striking a student was released.
"It's tough," said Terry Hilyard, former Baugo Community Schools business manager. "It's hard to agree to something like that, especially I guess it's because, he's just... maybe I shouldn't be talking, but I really think he's just a wonderful person."
Hilyard had good things to say about Hosinski's character. While he doesn't agree with Hosinski's actions, he suspects something happened leading up to what was caught on video.
"As a friend of mine and for something like that to happen... there'd had to been something happening for that to cause that person to just snap," Hilyard said.
Some attendees blamed school leaders for years of lax discipline. Many that spoke out at the meeting say the incident could have been prevented with stronger discipline guidelines.
Some said Hosinski was pushed into taking discipline into his own hands.
"When a kid is not held accountable for their actions, they feel like that stays that way forever," said Karla Funnell, a former Baugo Community Schools parent. "When they become an adult, what's the first thing that's going to happen? They're going to get in trouble and go to jail and think, 'why?'"
"Who would have ever said Mike Hosinski is gonna lay his hands on a kid? Nobody. Not anybody," community member Chris Pines said. "And this falls on the lap of the superintendent and the principal because they make the whole machine run."
Hosinski originally planned to retire at the end of the school year.
The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office and Indiana Department of Child Services are investigating the incident.