Video of School Police Officer Body Slamming Student Demonstrates Need to Remove Police From Schools
WASHINGTON – A video surfaced online this week showing a school resource officer, identified as officer Joshua Kehm, violently body slamming and subsequently handcuffing a 12-year-old student at Rhodes Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. The national racial justice organization Advancement Project released the following statement in response:
“This video demonstrates the urgent need to take action to remove police officers from our schools,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “It is unconscionable for a 12-year-old student involved in a verbal altercation to be brutalized and dehumanized in this manner. Once again, a video captured by a student offers a sobering reminder that we cannot entrust school police officers to intervene in school disciplinary matters that are best suited for trained educators and counselors.”
“This video confirms what data has already shown: School police officers do little keep students safe, involving themselves in incidents that should never rise to the level of a police response,” added Thena Robinson Mock, Program Director of Advancement Project’s Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Campaign. “Increased police presence in schools leads to a dramatic increase in school-based student arrests and an increase in students, particularly students of color, being assaulted and funneled into the criminal justice system. Despite these facts, many of the largest school districts in the country continue to hire more security officers than counselors. This video makes clear that police officers are not adequately trained to work with young people. In order to protect students across the country, particularly students of color, we must immediately reconsider the role of police in schools.”
“How many students of color must be brutalized by police officers in their schools before we recognize the pattern?” asked Browne Dianis. “We saw this with 17-year-old Brittany Overstreet in Tampa, Fla., who was body-slammed and knocked unconscious by a school resource officer; in Baltimore, Md., where a middle school student required ten stitches after she was assaulted by a school resource officer; in Columbia, S.C., where a student was thrown across a classroom, handcuffed and arrested for using her phone during class and now, in San Antonio. We cannot wait for another violent video of police brutality in our schools to surface before we take action.”
For more information or to speak with Advancement Project please contact Drew Ambrogi at [email protected] or via phone at (603) 944-3098.
Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.