Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Unprotected Child : The dangerous divide between Adults and Our Children

A video began spreading on social media sites Monday afternoon of an incident that happened at Spring Valley High School in northeast Richland County. In the recording, a female student can be seen sitting in her chair in a classroom where several other students are present. An officer can be seen grabbing the student out of her desk, causing the chair to flip over. Once the student is on the ground, the officer can be seen grabbing the student and dragging her for several feet.
The video is disturbing and…No, it is more than disturbing. It is terrifying, unsettling, frightening and just fucked up.
There are so many things wrong with this video that shows, unfortunately where our society is right now. There is more than a race issue involved in that terrible video.

Are our children safe in school?

With my bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder, I get really anxious. One of the things that makes me very anxious is when my children are out of my protection. The most time they spend away from me is when they are in school. 
Recently there have been multiple school shootings at high schools and colleges and that frightens me. It leaves me afraid that the schools may not be equipped enough to protect my children. I try to have faith everyday that the schools my children are attending will be vigilant and ready to protect them.
The last thing you want is to believe that the actually Resource police officers, teachers or anyone

in the administration would harm your child. Now, my children are well behaved and have never had any disciplinary actions taken against them. However, if they happened to be defiant or when asked to leave a classroom or require disciplinary action taken against them, I had faith that the adults that surround them would be trained and would know how to de-escalate the situation. When I see videos like this I do not feel that my children are safe in school. It worries me and makes me understand why so many parents are now determined to home school their children.

Are we teaching children that violence is the answer?

According to Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Medline Plus, Demonstrating to through teens through words and action by adults can show teens that violence is never an acceptable way to approach any situation. That is the only way to produce healthy and level headed children that can learn to communicate their frustrations in other manners.
Parents are arrested and or reported if they are abusive or use corporal punishment on their children even if the child is out of hand or cannot be controlled.
If we tell parents that violence is not the answer how can we defend a resource officer in a school who attacks a defiant child with violence. I have seen comments on social media that the child “should have listened”, “Will learn next time not to fight back” or that “she got what she deserved”.
We are the adults! How can we treat our children that way and then wonder why they choose violence against each other? This treatment of our children should not be tolerated by any one especially adults and especially those that we believe are there to protect our children.
How can we teach our children that violence is not the answer when we as adults are using violence to control them? It shows that we are teaching our children one thing and showing them another. Children will do as they see us do and not what we say.

Are police trained enough to be around our children?

I truly believe it is obvious that the police in this country are not trained properly. I am sure there was a time in our history where police were trained and understood how to de-escalate a situation and handle things like adults. You would hope that someone that has the capacity to use deadly force on someone would know when to and not to use it.
Today, I believe that our police officers lack resources and therefore they are not training police. A trained police officer would have used force on a child as a last resort on a teenage girl in class in front of other students.  A trained office would not have approached a 12 year old boy and shot him without evaluating the situation. A trained officer would not have chased down an unarmed man and shot him in the back.
Police have so much to deal with on a daily basis. They are put into dangerous situations and training would allow them to feel confident and be able to handle situations without panicking and killing someone.
Force and Deadly force should be a last resort and we in this society need to help fund the police and other institutions so that they can train police so they can do what they are supposed to do…keep us and our children safe.

Is there a race element?

Of course, no matter the race of the child, what that officer did was inexcusable and to look at that video and say “we need to investigate what happened” and to assume the child provoked her own assault is appalling. However, people get offended when it is said that his reaction was partially based on the fact that the young woman was black. Can you blame a community that has experience
violence at the hand of police from the moment they stepped on the soil of this country to see a race element in this situation?
To add insult to injury I have seen numerous comments on social media that salutes the police officer for “taking her down humanely” or she was going to end up in jail anyway. Are we seen as less than human? Do we, including our children, deserve less than children of other races? I do believe that race played a part in this situation. Even if that was not what the officer intended…that has been the response since the video made its rounds.

The University of Berkley’s Website Greater Good: the Science of a Meaningful Life, says that “The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.”
It is in my opinion that a country that considers itself to be based on Christian beliefs and values (something I contest) lacks empathy and love for its fellow man.
In order for slavery to flourish the people had to believe that another human being was less than human and that rhetoric still flourish in the minds of so many in this country. We lack the ability to empathize with the plight of others.
A child’s brain doesn’t fully mature until the age of 25. They do not have the capacity to think like an adult when they are teenagers in school. Of course they will be defiant and act out. We have no clue what that child could have been going through in that moment. Any response of violence toward a child that is not posing a dangerous threat to the other students or is unarmed is ridiculous and reprehensible on every level. You should lose your job and never be allowed to work in a school again.
If you can see someone assault an unarmed child sitting at her desk and automatically think “there has to be more to the story” you need to look in the mirror and tell the person you see staring back at you to get their shit together.


  1. Well said, Donnee. And, I am right with you on your points about officer training, the lack of empathy, the need for protection of our children, and race being a part of the equation. It's also a matter of teacher training.

    The precipitating issue is supposed to be that the student took out her cell phone and texted in class. Then she would not give up her phone when the teacher asked for it. He called administration to come in. RIGHT THERE, that tells me the teacher was ill-equipped and unable to handle the situation. This police officer had been working in the schools for years, had he had some training and just observed effective teachers, he would have had some ideas about how to de-escalate the impasse without using violence. Teachers do this every day, have to do their jobs in an environment where the 30 people sitting in front of them may get out of control but THEY, the teachers, cannot. Effective teachers have learned how to not put students in positions in which the kid loses face or feels threatened. A lot of other, non-violent scenarios could have played out.

    Sure we don't KNOW what happened before the video, but this girl did not have a weapon, was not threatening another student, was not running wild around the room. And it's not only that young woman who was affected. Every kid in the room observed violence at work, probably felt scared and anxious about his/her own safety, maybe felt more distrustful and hatred for the police, probably lost respect for the teacher. The entire fiasco was an assault on the education and mental health of every child in the room. And, we can see the profound affect seeing the video has had across the nation. Blessings to the people who are actually seeking the truth and better solutions.

    1. Yes! In Chicago, they are lowering the requirements for teachers because they lack the resources to hire well qualified teachers. The same is being said for the police. Normally teachers just take the phone. We need to start focusing our funds on education and law enforcement and not on unnecessary wars and frivolous senate inquiries.