For Black Girls, Teenage Behavior is Criminal


We all watched in horror, the video of South Carolina school resources officer,  Ben Fields, of the Richland County Sheriff’s office, as he flipped  a black teen on her head and dragged her across a classroom floor as if she were a piece of trash. This because she began using her cell phone in a math class, against her teacher’s instruction.

This brings into question the kind of reality that a person in authority has in mind when a classroom disruption becomes criminal behavior requiring physical force.  She did not have a weapon. She was not threatening anyone. She was not following directions in a way that is pretty typical of teen in the throes of hormonal flux or any child, for that matter. We can think of all sorts of reasons that she did not comply instantly. It seems that this lack of instant submission that police officers seem taught to expect is a central factor in many of the police abuse cases that have been in the news lately.

As we work hard to raise our children and get them to adulthood safely, the school should be the one reliable safe place. It should be the one place that understands children, how their minds work and how their behavior varies with their humanity. It is not so anymore.  And it is especially not so for African American children. More……