On behalf of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, Director Keron Blair has released the following statement regarding the video of a police officer's violent interaction with a student at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina:
"The video of officer Ben Fields dragging an African American female student across the room broke my heart. I think it broke the heart of every student, parent and educator who watched it. It was too much, and so much about what we saw was just wrong and unacceptable!
The comment from CNN commentator Don Lemon that we should wait to see what the young girl did before drawing conclusions was equally shameful and egregious. The fact is, no student should ever experience that kind of violence and humiliation at the hands of the adults expected to care for them and keep them safe.
The South Carolina classroom scene provides us another opportunity to reimagine school discipline culture — it is an opportunity to imagine schools in which all adults are deeply committed to providing safe spaces for learning and the development of the young people entrusted to their care. To imagine schools in which violence against young people is always unacceptable. Schools in which, when students speak up, like Niya Kenry did, it does not result in their arrest.
The schools our children deserve are schools where there is deep respect for the humanity of every child and where they are treated with dignity, respect and love. The actions of Ben Fields were not rooted in those ideals and give us an opportunity to call for real changes, including but not limited to a commitment to fund restorative justice in schools.”