Police officer gets violent with black student, in other news, the sky is blue

At a Spring Valley High School, on Oct. 26 in South Carolina, Ben Fields a high school police officer was caught on camera throwing a black teenage girl out of her desk and then across the classroom.

On that day, the student had been reportedly disruptive to the class because she refused to hand over her phone first to the teacher and then to an administrator. 

The teacher ordered her to leave the room, and the student refused. 

At this point, the teacher called for the school’s police force to help with this disruptive student.

This is when Fields arrives in the classroom. The students at the school had a nickname for him even before this incident: “Officer Slam.” The students predicted that things would head towards violence. This is when Fields flipped the girl and her desk backwards onto the floor, and then he throws her across the classroom.

As of now, Fields has been fired from his position, and the 16-year-old girl now has a cast on her arm, as well as neck and back injuries. The girl’s foster mother explains that she had recently lost her mother and was now living in a foster home. She is described as “devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her” by her foster mother.

The incident has sparked a debate over whether Fields was justified in his use of force with this “disobedient” student, or if he abused his power by using excessive force.

For those that argue the former, their main point is that “we don’t know what happened.” This argument holds no real power, as this happened in a room full of children, some of which watched and recorded the events. There was no sign of the student being able to put the officer in any danger.

Aside from this, morally it doesn’t make sense to assume that a student sitting in a desk warrants being flipped out of the desk and thrown across the room. Even if she was loudly talking during class, or paying more attention to her phone than the lecture, violence is definitely not necessary. Especially not violence that results in arm, neck and back injuries.

Police officers have been placed in schools to protect the staff and students from things like shooters, fights between students, fights between students and teachers, etc. 

They are supposed to keep the learning environment safe and accessible to all students. 

A classroom disruption over a phone should not have become a violent situation resulting in injury.

As for whether this event was racially based or not, it is important to consider what previous cases he has been involved in. 

A student had filed a lawsuit against Fields which is scheduled for trial in January, alleging that he has been targeting people based on race and that Fields “unfairly … targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.” 

The student was expelled after being accused of belonging to a gang.  Luckily for other Spring Valley High School students, Fields is no longer allowed to be on the premises.