In concentrating solely on the officer’s un-professionalism at the Spring Valley High School, we lose sight of the chain of causation.
Mr. Ben Fields, a school resource officer, is the star of the now viral video showing a defiant, young black girl in her classroom being tossed around like a rag doll.
Mr. Fields’ shine doesn’t come as a result of any type of heroism, but instead the opposite: his Herculean approach to a non-violent, much smaller, unarmed 16 year-old student who refused to stand and leave a South Carolina classroom after being dismissed by her teacher for usage of a cellphone during instruction time.
After videos of the assault made its rounds on the Internet, conversations about the incident focused on race and discipline, how black and brown students are more likely than their white counterparts to be harshly disciplined for being disobedience.
With scrutiny of cops being what it is today, there’s no surprise to the manner in which the story spread through social media, nor how the conversation has been framed. But, by focusing solely on Mr. Fields’ un-professionalism, we lose sight of the chain of causation, how a stubborn act performed by a minor escalated into them being assaulted and arrested.
The teacher, who isn’t named in any of the mainstream news articles I’ve read, deserves equal scrutiny in the aftermath of the assault at Spring Valley High School, for the responsibility of classroom management lies with the instructor, not the enforcer.
I have a few years of teaching and classroom management under my belt, and never has a fight broke out under my watch, nor have I ever required an officer of the law to intervene with my affairs, despite my student body being made up of what society refers to as “at-risk, inner-city youth.”
I not only commanded respect from my students, I showed it to them in return, thus creating a level of reverence for the classroom and what happens in it. In addition to respect as a value, connections were made in my classroom: I knew my pupils’ families – some who went to school with me – and I formed relationships with each individual student, so if and when they did misbehave, a certain look or a verbal expression of disappointment by me was enough to suppress it.
It’s clear by how things quickly escalated inside the classroom at Spring Valley High School where math was the subject that the instructors had neither a relationship with the student body, nor a grasp on how to execute reverse psychology on youth to bring about your desired result.
Instead of interrupting teaching and learning time with a melee that certainly traumatized the student body in attendance, the teacher could have, rather than make the cellphone an obstruction to education, spontaneously integrate mobile technology into the lesson plan. If the instructor wasn’t that creative, he or she could have ignored the student altogether; after all, she wasn’t violent, loud or disruptive, just disobedient; which is a problem, but not one worthy of police intervention.
My analysis is by no means an attempt to overshadow the young girl’s indifference to authority; that, too, is apart of the chain of causation which led to the assault at Spring Valley High School. But when the school bell rings marking the end of the day, only the teacher and the officer are the ones held to a higher standard.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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