Another Young Girl Assaulted By An Officer, This Time In The Classroom–And Folks Still Don’t Get It
Look, I get it.
Teenagers are quite a handful these days. And when they want to be disruptive in classrooms, it can be an unnecessary and difficult power struggle between student and teacher that can throw a whole class period off.
But what people need to remember is that at the end of the day, you’re still dealing with a child. And children should not be flipped over in desks and flung across classrooms for having temper tantrums.
And yet, that’s exactly what happened at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina yesterday.
According to the Huffington Post, a female student refused to leave class when asked to, so a school officer was called. When the young woman still declined to get up and go, the officer decided to flip her desk upside down, with her in it, dragging her to the front of the class by her jacket and pant leg. As the rest of the class and the homeroom teacher watch in silence, the young girl is restrained by the officer in the front of the classroom, arms placed behind her back.
Since the video was passed around with the hashtag #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh, reactions to it have ranged from complete shock to absolute rage. The officer, Deputy Ben Fields, 34, has been placed on administrative leave, but many are calling for Fields to be fired. School officials are saying they are “deeply concerned” about Fields’s handling of the situation, and no matter what an investigation into his behavior brings, they don’t want him back on school property. He has been banned by the school board.
Debbie Hamm, the superintendent for the school district Spring Valley High resides in, said his actions will not be tolerated.
“Student safety is and always will be the district’s top priority. The district will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the district has directed that the school resource officer not return to any school in the district.”
And I know what people will say. It’s the same thing they say every time a young person is assaulted or killed by police. It’s what they said when something like this happened to the 15-year-old girl assaulted by Officer Eric Casebolt in McKinney, Texas: “Had they only listened to what the officer was telling them, they wouldn’t have been handled with such force.”
And yada yada, blah blah blah, bloopity bloop bullsh-t.
Despite all the claims from politicians and police unions that the Black Lives Matter Movement and criticisms against officers are allegedly causing a spike in crime and crime’s against them, it’s still not stopping officers of the law and hell, even random officers holding security positions in high schools, from continuing to throw around and mistreat young people of color. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again that our youth aren’t allowed the chance to really be young and make mistakes. Instead, they are tossed across classrooms and sat on by police officers as a way to be made an example of. Thrown around like rag dolls by people whose clear disdain for young Black folks is shown in their treatment of them. In the way they grab them. In the way they speak to them. That is why instead of calling this young woman’s parents, or embarrassing her by using all that strength to pick up or pull her desk out of the classroom since she refused to leave it, she was flipped around in such a manner. He didn’t care or worry about her possibly slamming her head on the ground or walking away from such an encounter with bumps, bruises or broken bones. He didn’t care that by flipping her around he could have left her with a concussion or pain. He, like many men left with the task of trying to bring order to Black schools and communities they don’t want to be in, just didn’t care. And with no regard for the young people in that school, and no real patience to deal with all the teen angst that fills school halls around the world, no matter the racial composition, he had no qualms about treating a teenager like a violent offender. And yet, she sat still and silent as it all happened. She had no control over the situation the minute he walked up to her and grabbed her arms.
As usual, unnecessary force is the way people like Deputy Fields handle people they deem unnecessary. People who make them actually have to step up and do their job. And when forced to do one’s job when it’s not an easy fix, even when it pertains to escorting a moody teenager to the principal’s office, it always ends with a scene of pure chaos.
And that’s what’s tiring in all of this. Nobody wants to make these hashtags and pass around these videos, let alone watch them (it literally takes a pep talk to press play). But the shenanigans continue. The blind support of the shenanigans continue. And the placement of people with zero lack of respect for Black bodies and lives in the school halls, communities and homes of Black folks continues. They don’t want to deal with us, so when they have to, they’re already on level 10. And while people who still don’t get it are tired of Blacks talking about police brutality and unnecessary force, we’re even more sick and tired of it being exacted upon us.