Captured on video, a white South Carolina school police officer violently tosses a black student out of her desk, drags her across the floor and cuffs her as she’s sprawled on the floor. Captured on video. That’s key. Because across the country, questionable police actions at schools are mostly a hidden phenomenon.
Nationwide, in incidents that rarely get publicly aired, thousands of students are also getting arrested, ticketed, interrogated and searched by police officers, often in connection with minor indiscretions or allegations they were disruptive.
Some police actions involve alarming physical altercations, with kids subdued and handcuffed. Others may be handled without much force. But law-enforcement involvement in school discipline has routinely resulted in kids—some as young as elementary school-age—summoned to court to answer charges that they committed crimes. Frequently, charges include battery or assault in connection with schoolyard fights or disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace at school —issues that some believe should be handled by school officials, not cops.
A kid doesn’t even have to be a teen for this to happen.