Spring Valley High School Student Violently Arrested by SRO Ben Fields

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This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Officer Slam: Police in School

SRO Ben Fields  — School Resources Officer — at Spring Valley High School (S.C.) violently slammed a black female student to the floor and then threw her several feet toward the door. She was arrested for using her cell phone in class.

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(10-28-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  When a sixteen-year-old girl at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina was caught with her phone, the teacher told her to hand it over. She refused. The teacher then ordered her to go to the principal’s office. She refused.The teacher called the assistant principal, who then told her to leave the classroom. She refused. So the assistant principal sicced the cop–excuse me, I mean School Resources Officer Ben Fields–on her.

The SRO came and told her to get up. And she refused. Because,–I speculate–being a teenager and therefore not sufficiently experienced in these things, she had asserted her sense of individuality and her determination to make her own rules and who knows what else, without realizing that she was working herself into a corner. And now here she was, this sixteen-year-old black girl, looking up at a white, weightlifting pitbull of a cop, the tension palpable in the room as her classmates looked on.  So she couldn’t get up. Not without losing face.

SRO Ben Fields then put his arm around the girl’s neck and slammed her backwards on the floor, seat and all. He then grabbed her by some random limbs and threw her several feet in the general direction of the door–during which time she somehow got disconnected from her seat–before putting her in handcuffs. The (white) student closest to her seems unaffected as far as one can tell from his body language, but the other students are flinching and visibly want to disappear from sight.

Yes, a few students managed to record the incident on their phones and the moment is being played on the news over and over again. The whole thing is horrifying to watch, here on my couch in Austin, six states away. To imagine how scared these kids must have been is almost too much.

SRO Ben Fields arrested and led the girl away for “disturbing schools” and for not cooperating with an officer of the law. One of the students who filmed the police brutality apparently also spoke up in her defense, which got her arrested as well, also for “disturbing schools”. The first girl could potentially get a $1,000 fine or nine months in prison. I don’t know about the second girl. According to the local sheriff it’s up to the prosecutor.

So that’s the situation with SRO Ben Fields brutally arresting a black female high student in class at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina, for using her phone. It’s wrong on so many levels that I’m going to spend several posts on it, but I felt I had to set it up first for non-American readers who may not have heard about this–although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the footage “of this great nation’s” public school system at work is splashed all over the news across the world.

This post is Part 1 in the series Officer Slam: Police in School. Here is the next one

(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “Officer Slam 1: The Incident”, 10-28-2015)

Header image: still from video in: Devega, Chaucey. “White America will ignore this video: The hideous & predictable violence of our schools, our legal system, our society”. Salon. October 27, 2015 4:35PM (UTC).  https://www.salon.com/2015/10/27/white_america_will_ignore_this_video_the_hideous_predictable_violence_of_our_schools_our_legal_system_our_society/

Series NavigationWhat’s the Purpose of American Public Schools, Education or Discipline? >>

4 thoughts on “Spring Valley High School Student Violently Arrested by SRO Ben Fields

  1. Actually I would imagine that this girl wasn’t scared at all which is why she refused to obey. I think people need to see the “whole video” and not just the snippet where the cop takes her out of the classroom. The whole video would share how kids are learning to disobey the law and in turn are now given the lesson they can get cops fired.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I won’t respond to it just now, because I’ll get to everything you bring up in the next few posts. I’ll just say here that I couldn’t disagree with you more, so if you want to know why, stay tuned.

  2. What can I say!
    First I didn’t take in account that for instance this started out as typical teenager behaviour with a competent teacher could have defused there and then. Than I am just shocked about how this is handled. Wrong on so many levels. In fact it doesn’t say anything negative about the teenager, she behaves like teenager sometimes do; testing how far they can go.
    What it proves is the inability of the teacher, the school as a whole and the police to deal these small conflicts. How will a teenager learn to deal with conflicts if their environment’s reaction on her behaviour is so over, over, over……, don’t even have an English word for it.
    That a policeman is called, and treat the girl as a serious criminal.
    I really shake my head and wonder why this happens in a country which still prides itself to be nr. 1.
    I won’t tell you Dutch police is perfect because they aren’t!
    Neither will I tell you our education system is perfect because it isn’t.
    But that something happens like in your post is unheard of!
    I also can’t ignore the thought: What if this girl would ha been white. Would the incident been treated the same? I wonder!

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