A disturbing cell-phone video from a South Carolina high school surfaced yesterday of a female student being violently ripped from her desk by a school resource officer. He places his arm under her neck, flips her backward out of her desk, and tosses her body across the room.
According to local officials, the student was confronted by Sr. Dpt. Ben Fields, a 34-year-old officer on loan from the Richland County Sherriff’s Department. The student was asked to leave the classroom, and when she refused, the actions in the above video unfolded. “The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions which she again refused,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WISTV. “The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested.”
There are still no confirmed reports of what led to this action. The police say she was “disturbing school.” Students in her class told NY Daily News Justice Writer Shaun King that she was a normally quiet student who was looking at her phone.
This is not okay. It’s not okay to approach a student, or any human who isn’t physically resisting with so much force. How can anyone look at this image and justify this behavior? And there is so much justification going on right now in internet comment sections:
Do you not realize there was a reason for this girl being asked to leave the classroom. She was obviously doing something to disrupt the class, which is interfering with the rights of the other students, who actually want an education.
I think the media should wake up! Instead of defending the student, they should ask why the student was asked to leave the classroom by the teacher and then the officer. It is apparent that the student lacks discipline and respect for authority. She will most likely be another welfare case in a few years blaming others for her lack of accomplishments!
How about kids/teenagers start doing what they are told so this kind of action is not necessary? Lesson well taught by the Officer.
You want to act like a punk then be prepared to be treated like one. I see nothing wrong here.
Really? We’re okay with that use of force on a “disruptive” student? If we were looking at video of our own child who refused a simple command in class, would we have the same reaction? She should have listened. It’s her fault. Maybe this will teach her to respect authority.
No fucking way.
This video scares the hell out of me, because my children are black. Time and time again we’ve seen how black children are treated differently by police and judged differently by society.
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology last year and reported by Salon, “researchers asked college students and police officers to estimate the ages of young children who they were told had committed a crime (both misdemeanors and felonies). In both groups, respondents were far more likely to overestimate the ages of young black boys than young white boys; they were also less likely to view black children as innocent.”
“The goal of the study, according to researchers, was to determine the extent to which respondents dehumanized young black children, and how this racist dehumanization can lead to violence and unjust treatment. ‘[I]f human childhood affords protections against harsh, adult-like treatment, then in contexts where these children are dehumanized, they can be treated with adult severity’ — specifically in the criminal justice system, researchers wrote.”
Basically, the study concluded that police see black children as less innocent and less young than white children: “Overall, researchers note, participants viewed black children aged 10 and older as ‘significantly less innocent than other children of every age group.'”
After the initial shock and disgust of watching a large man take a girl who was sitting in her desk and violently throw her across a room, I can’t take my eyes off the other students. They look terrified. They don’t even dare to look in the direction of what’s happening. This is not okay.
“Our District is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today,” reads a statement to local news station WLTX, from the school’s superintendent Dr. Libby Roof.
Yes, students need to obey their teachers. But where are we, as a society, if we deem this use of force justifiable? If that was your child sitting in that chair, what would your reaction be? This is not discipline — it’s violence. And it’s inexcusable.
The poet Olivia Cole made a powerful statement when she wrote about the tackle and arrest of a black teenaged girl in McKinney Texas last summer during a neighborhood pool party:
“If you find your mind wandering to different excuses that you might make… stop yourself. Stop and look at yourself, because by doing that (even if you do it silently and in your own head), you are contributing to the dehumanization of black children. Before you start to say, ‘We need to teach kids to obey the police,’ think of what you are calling for.”
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