Yesterday a disturbing new video was circulated on social media of a police officer assaulting a young black girl who was seated in a chair in her classroom at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
You can watch the video below:
This video shows what can happen when cops are allowed in schools. In essence, we are criminalizing youth in their own classrooms — the places where they should feel safe and ready to learn.
Just last month, The Atlantic published an article explaining how police officers in public schools impact the campus climate:
“Estimates reported by The New York Times in 2009 indicated that as many as 17,000 sworn police officers were posted in U.S. schools at the time, and federal data included in a National Center of Education Statistics report offers a closer look at the characteristics of campus-based police. According to the report, a little over three in four high schools and the vast majority of large schools (those with 1,000 or more students) have armed security staff, with only a slight statistical difference between urban and suburban areas. But there is great variation based on race and class: Schools where at least half of the children are nonwhite, as well as high-poverty schools (meaning those where at least 75 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch) are home to the highest percentages in the country of K-12-campus law enforcement.”
The article then goes on to explain that cops have been employed in public schools since the 1950s as “school resource officers” to help foster relationships with the students. During the tough on crime 1990s, the objective changed from having the police act as community liaisons to officers who were recruited and overseen by conventional police departments.
According to data from the US Department of Education, black students are arrested by the police at a disproportionate rate. In the 2011-2012 school year, black students represented 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest even though they constituted a lower percentage of overall enrollment.
Photo credit: screenshot from High School Officer Assaults Black Teenage Student