A video posted online of an officer's interaction with a student in the Richland School District Two in South Carolina had Twitter users incensed Monday afternoon. Many have asked exactly what happened at Spring Valley High School. The video shows a uniformed white male school resource officer telling a black female student to come with him. When she does not get up from her desk, the officer grabs her and the desk flips over. School officials confirmed that there was an incident, and Bustle has reached out to the police department for comment. Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Debbie Hamm said in a statement sent to Bustle:
Our District is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today. ... Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students.
According to WIS TV, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that the officer was responding to a student who was refusing to leave class. He told the news station, "The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions which she again refused. The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO." The girl is currently under arrest, according to local reporter Scott Cooke.
"You either come with me, or I'm going to make you," the officer says to a young girl sitting at her desk. When she does not get up from her desk, the officer pulls her up with his arm around her neck, causing her and the desk to flip over, and then he drags her out and off-camera. "Put your hands behind your back ... give me your hands" he repeats over and over as her classmates and teacher watch mostly in silence, before one student says he or she hopes someone's getting this on video. They were — you can watch the video (which is upsetting) here, and a longer version here.
The Richland Two Black Parents Association, an advocacy group for black parents of students in the area, released a statement saying, "Parents are heartbroken as this is just another example of the intolerance that continues to be of issue in Richland School District Two particularly with families and children of color. As we have stated in the past, we stand ready to work in collaboration to address these horrible acts of violence and inequities among our children."
In District Superintendent Hamm's statement, she wrote:
Upon learning of the incident, school and district administrators began an investigation. We are working closely and in full cooperation with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a thorough and complete investigation. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the District has directed that the school resource officer not return to any school in the District.