Friday, October 30, 2015

Civil rights groups: Cops in schools don't make students safer

As many of you have heard, Officer Ben Fields was fired for dragging, slamming, and throwing a 16-year-old black girl from her desk at Spring Valley High School near Columbia, SC. The video footage shocked the world, with reactions ranging from disturbing to disgraceful. The actions of the officer were excessive, unforgivable, and reprehensible. From USA Today:

A viral video of a South Carolina school resource officer slamming a student to the floor of a classroom is focusing attention on the increasing presence of police officers in schools. But cops in classrooms have long been a source of tension.

Richland County, S.C., Sheriff Leon Lott said that an internal investigation found that the force Senior Deputy Ben Fields used to arrest a student who was disrupting a class Monday at Spring Valley High School on Monday was "not based on training or acceptable."

Unfortunately, brutal violence against black girls by officers in secondary schools is not uncommon. From ABC News:

Girls of color, especially black girls, "face much harsher school discipline than their white peers but are excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline," according to "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected," a recent study from Columbia Law School and the African American Policy Forum. The study, which cites the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), found that, on average, black girls enrolled in New York City and Boston schools are disciplined 10.5 times more than their white counterparts. The rate is even greater than that of black boys, who are disciplined an average of seven times more than white boys, according to the study.

Brutal violence against black girls (and boys) by officers is a civil rights issue. Policymakers and the U.S. Department of Education must address the disproportionate disparities in discipline against students of color. Students should have a right to learn in a safe educational environment.

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1 comment:

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