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.