— Ahunna (@ahunnaaa_) January 3, 2017
There seems to be a real problem when it comes to school resource officers and their interactions with students of color. In 2016 the nation was shocked when an SRO was caught on camera body slamming a teenage girl in San Antonio, Texas, at Rhodes Middle School. Now 2017 brings another violent assault by a school resource officer, this time in North Carolina.
A video was posted on Twitter of a student at Rolesville High School being violently body-slammed to the ground by a school cop. The officer, identified as Ruben De Los Santos, then lifts the girl from the ground and leads her away in front of shocked students. A few minutes earlier De Los Santos had to break up a fight between two girls in the school’s cafeteria area. The girl that the officer body slammed is the sister of one of the girl’s who was fighting. De Los Santos has now been placed on administrative leave as the incident is being investigated by the school district.
The mother of the girls, Desiree Harrison, stated to the media that she was called to the high school about her other daughter and had no idea what had happened to the other girl. “When I’m looking at this video, I’m like, ‘Omigod, this cannot be happening to my child’ because I was just up at the school and they didn’t even tell me what happened to her. They were so busy trying to get rid of the one who was in a fight but didn’t even say something about the one that was not involved in anything,” Harrison said.
The school’s principal, Dhedra Lassiter, told parents in a phone message Tuesday evening: “An SRO assigned to our school responded to the fight. A video of the incident, widely shared on social media, has prompted questions about the response. WCPSS security is currently in the process of working with the Rolesville Police Department to gather all of the details about the incident to ensure that appropriate action is taken.”
The incident also garnered a response from The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina which stated, “We’re very disturbed by what we saw in the video. This kind of force, especially with kids in schools, is never justified.” Staff attorney Irena Como said the organization is also investigating the matter.