Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More Than a Few Rogue Cops: the Disturbing History of Police in Schools

Apr 26, 2016

Another week, another video of police abuse surfaces. This time the video shows San Antonio school resource officer Joshua Kehm body-slamming 12-year-old Rhodes Middle School student Janissa Valdez. Valdez was talking with another student, trying to resolve a verbal conflict between the two, when Kehm entered and attacked her. “Janissa! Janissa, you okay?” a student asked before exclaiming, “She landed on her face!” In a statement on the incident, co-director of the Advancement Project Judith Browne Davis wrote, “Once again, a video captured by a student offers a sobering reminder that we cannot entrust school police officers to intervene in school disciplinary matters that are best suited for trained educators and counselors.”

This senseless attack on a student is immediately reminiscent of video taken by kids at a South Carolina high school in October. While classmates looked on, school resource officer (SRO) Ben Fields slammed a 16-year-old student to the ground and then dragged her by her hair across the floor after she refused to hand over her cellphone.

At times like this, media talking heads and editorial boards wring their hands over “bad apples” in the police department—both Kehm and Fields have since been fired. Yet, the problem of police violence goes deeper than just a few rogue cops. Deeply rooted institutional racism and sexism

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