Parents outraged over video of confrontation between high school student and school resource officer
RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — A video of a confrontation between a South Carolina high school student and the school resource officer has sparked outrage with some parents.
The video was taken at Spring Valley High School, located northeast of Columbia.
School officials confirmed to WIS-TV the incident happened on Monday but did not provide additional details.
In the video, a struggle ensues and the student falls on the floor before being dragged away and out of view of the camera.
Some have defended the officer, many pointing out that the video isn’t complete. It doesn’t show what happened before, including what the student did and how many times authorities — a teacher, a school administrator and finally the officer, Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields — had asked her to get up, CNN reported.
Others, though, think the video shows more than enough to warrant Fields’ firing. There’s no excuse, they say, for a law enforcement officer to act that way against a student who hasn’t harmed or threatened anyone.
Parents of students at the high school are reacting to the video. A group called the “Richland Two Black Parents Association” called the video “unacceptable.”
“Parents are heartbroken as this is just another example of the intolerance that continues to be of issue in Richland School District Two particularly with families and children of color,” the group said in a statement, according to WIS-TV. “As we have stated in the past, we stand ready to work in collaboration to address these horrible acts of violence and inequities among our children.”
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WLTX that the student had been disruptive and refused to leave the class after the teacher asked her to. An administrator was called to the room and made the same request and the student refused again, Lott said.
When the school resource officer came to the classroom, the officer forcibly removed the student and she resisted arrest, Lott told WLTX.
Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Libby Roof told WLTX that the district was “deeply concerned” about the incident and will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of students.
No one was injured, according to Lt. Curtis Wilson, a spokesman for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. But the student — who was released to her parents after the incident — faces a charge of disturbing schools, according to Wilson. Another student, who might not be visible in the videos, faces the same charge.
As to Fields, he’s on administrative duties and won’t return to Spring Valley High anytime soon. His boss, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, was requested an FBI investigation into the incident, according to Wilson. The U.S. Justice Department has gotten the request but hasn’t determined whether they’ll take the case, a federal law enforcement source.
Warning: Video may be disturbing to some viewers.
Content distributed by Tribune Media Wire; CNN contributed some information to this story.