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Update: Shaun King updated the story to say that the girl’s mother has not passed away but she is estranged from her is indeed living in foster care.

In light of the recent Spring Valley High Assault case, I’m seeing a lot of people calling for obedience. Not obedience on Officer Fields’ part. He broke a few rules himself. But they’re asking for obedience from the young lady who was placed in a chokehold and dragged across the classroom floor in front of her classmates.

For once, Raven-Symoné’s trollish-like comments are being reflected by others in our community who want to “blame the parents” for not teaching her to respect authority.

Can I just say respecting authority is an important life skill but it can also be overrated. I’m not arguing that she shouldn’t have given up her cell phone or followed the officer when he asked her to get up the first time. (I work with young, elementary school aged children who bring cell phones to our tutoring classes. They’re distracting and annoying.) But with the way police officers are abusing their authority, degrading, beating and killing Black boys, girls, men and women, perhaps she had a reason for not compiling to Officer Field’s command, particularly when he had a reputation for being overly aggressive.

Or maybe this 16-year-old girl was just having a bad day and she felt like being defiant. We were all teenagers, some of us more recently than others, and I know I had those days. And I thank God I was never abused for it. Thankfully, my teachers and my school administrators saw me for what I was, a young person prone to making foolish mistakes. It’s literally what teenagers do as they’re trying to find themselves and navigate through life.

Unfortunately, too many children of color aren’t given the opportunity or the freedom to be treated as children, as human beings, who inevitably make silly, mistakes like everyone does.

If her teacher thought she was distracted by her cell phone, certainly being assaulted by a grown man took both she and all of her classmates out of learning mode. I don’t know how you go back to studying parabolas once you’ve seen a young lady flung across your classroom floor.

The pressures of being a teenager are challenging enough. But this young lady is facing so much more. Her attorney, Todd Rutherford told Shaun King, for the Daily News that she was recently moved into the foster care system.

When you suffer that type of change, you’re not trying to have someone, even if they are an authority figure, come in and take something else from you.

Trauma will make anyone act out, especially a teenager.

And during what is possibly the toughest time of her life, this young lady is now suffering from injuries on her face, neck and arm (she is reportedly wearing a cast) and is still charged with “disturbing schools.”

Her foster mother is trying her best to protect her identity but she has said that the young lady is devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her.

I pray that this young girl finds the strength to process and heal from all that has happened to her because Lord knows she’s had to carry far more at 16 than many of us will endure in a lifetime.


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