I Hadn’t Heard That Part of the Story…

A while back, video hit the internet of a police officer dragging a student out of her chair in class, throwing her across the room and handcuffing her. I had heard about it, heard the usual back-and-forth about how difficult it can be to make teenagers behave and sure but since when do we call cops to settle talking back in the classroom, and then waves of police brutality stories kept coming and this particular case was no longer in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

But then I came across this video released by the ACLU. It turns out, there was an extra level of gross to that story.


It turns out, the girl in the video was not the only one arrested in that classroom that day. Another classmate of hers spoke out, said “Y’all can’t do this!” and for that, she was also arrested and kept in jail that day. Arresting kids for misbehaving in schools, for misdemeanors as innocuous as “being obnoxious” and for children as young as seven, is now a thing in South Carolina. To say I’m disgusted is an understatement.

That black kids are arrested and criminalized for perfectly normal behavior at far higher rates than white kids goes without saying. But when it comes to how to fix it, to where to go from here, I honestly am drawing a blank. I can’t understand how it got to this point in the first place. The concept of arresting kids for talking back, that a culture could accept this, that any teacher would ever call in the police for such a thing and not be immediately fired and ostracized from their community, is all so alien to me that I don’t even know where to begin unpacking this mess.

Share the video and ask the ACLU how they plan to tackle this. As for me, I’m just going to make sure I never end up raising kids in South Carolina.


  1. says

    Sometimes I suspect the goal is to ensure every non-white person in the US has a criminal record. Stories like this and the one Mano Singham reports do nothing to dissuade me. I’m sure there are some who would like to tag every non-white person at birth.

    Roughly a dozen US states deny the right to vote to people with criminal convictions, either permanently or for excessively long periods (in Florida, seven years after probation ends). Forty eight deny the right to vote while in prison, Maine and Vermont the only exceptions. (Compare that with Canada where all incarcerated adults can still vote while behind bars, and obviously after release.)

    Who needs to rig the voting lists when you can legalize voter disenfranchisement and use cops to do the dirty work?

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    left0ver1under @ # 1: …in Florida, seven years after probation ends…

    Even then, current Fla law demands a complex and arduous process (requiring many hours of driving for most of the population, as parts have to happen in Tallahassee – >500 miles from, say, Miami), and case-by-case approval from the state Cabinet and an obnoxious teabagger governor.

    In Rick Scott’s first term, less than 400 people had their voting rights restored each year, out of a disenfranchised population of nearly 1.5 million (including about 1/4 of African-Floridians).

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