Police Officer Attacks Student in Classroom

Olivia Pelaez, Staff Writer

Recently, multiple videos of an officer’s violent attempts to arrest a girl after disrupting a class in Spring Valley High School, South Carolina has gone viral. The teacher reportedly asked for the student’s phone after she was using it during a lesson, when she did not comply the teacher called an officer to deal with the issue. The graphic video depicts how the officer asked the student to stand up and when she refused, he proceeded to flip her table around while she was still sitting in it and drag her out from under her desk. Although no injuries were reported, the incident has received a lot of backlash due to the officer’s extremely violent behavior which was an overreaction to the acts committed by the student.

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Well I just don’t understand the need of some police to use that level of violence. The worst part is that nothing has been done to stop it and it just keeps on happening. It’s like they know there’s a high probability that they’re going to be filmed but they don’t care cause the punishment will not be that harsh,

— senior Iomara Morejon

The video has been trending on social media since Monday, Oct. 26 and has left the public in outrage over the police officer’s excessive use of force. Although a majority of people believe that the officer was wrong in exerting too much force on the student; others believe it is justified because the student did not listen to her orders. Once the police officer dragged the student out of the chair, he continued to handcuff her in front of her peers while using excessive force. The officer has since been placed on an administrative leave while investigations continue. Another question that comes into play is whether his actions were influenced by racism due to the color of the student’s skin. This has previously been a problem in South Carolina with similar occurrences of police officers targeting and harming civilians due to their prejudice towards the civilian’s race.

The police officer’s actions may be justified because the student attempted to punch the officer as he grabbed her neck and could have felt that his life was in danger and acted accordingly. However,  the officer instigated her defensive reaction and should not have been called to the room in the first place because there are other disciplinary measures the teacher could have used instead of resorting to calling the resource officer. The officer also should have kept in mind that there are other ways to get a student to comply that don’t involve the use of brute force and should have found a gentler way to apprehend the girl.

“[The police officer] needs to be fired immediately. A lot of people say that the video doesn’t show the ‘full thing’ but there is nothing else to be seen, there was a situation and he didn’t handle it professionally at all. There is a certain way to deal with a teenager sitting in class and flipping her over and dragging her like that was not the way,” junior Leismary Davis said.

Police brutality has been an increasingly apparent issue in the past years in the United States. As instances of officers abusing their power in order to assault civilians increases, counter measures have been put into place such as placing body cameras on the officers at all times in order to obtain video evidence of these confrontations. The controversy continues to be an issue as cases such as this one continue to  arise, many of which also have the issue of race where the attacks are considered racist by many.

Recent reports have also suggested that the officer was never trained to use defense strategies on the students. The offices had been monitoring the school for a long time and was known to be more aggressive than others by the student. This is a case where a police officer took things too far and ended up doing morally wrong actions such as using excessive force which could have seriously injured the student or those around her.