High School students are staging protests and using the hashtag #FreeSamHouston, after witnessing brutality in their own high school, and posting it to instagram.
Ixel Perez, a 4’10”, 100 pound, 10th grade student at Sam Houston High in Texas, was brutally detained by three officers in her high school for refusing to turn over her cell phone.
Perez’ mother, Gladys Santos, has kidney problems and receives dialysis treatment, reports Click2Houston. Perez’ father had sent a text to the 10th grader, worried when he couldn’t locate her mother.
“I didn’t want to let go of my phone so they like, pinned me down to the floor. One of them was behind me, like on my legs and trying to put the handcuffs on. It hurt a lot. And the other cop has his knee on my head, all his weight on me, and I was screaming because it hurt so much. I was crying because I thought I was going to get in trouble with my mom.”
Perez is currently suspended until Friday and her mother is looking to move her to another school.
Many critics of having police in schools point to the fact that there has been a surge of children arrested and charged with misdemeanours for things such as truancy, chewing gum, or talking back to teachers, which they believe would be better handled by the school and its principal, rather than the boys in blue.
“There is no evidence that placing officers in the schools improves safety, and it increases the number of minor behavior problems that are referred to the police, pushing kids into the criminal system.” Denise C. Gottfredson, a criminologist at the University of Maryland who is an expert in school violence, told The New York Times last year.
Without evidence to show that officers being in school improves safety, all it appears to be doing is creating a prison like tone in a place that is supposed to feel safe, funneling our children into the criminal system, and in some cases brutalizing them.
According to Texas Appleseed, a group working to end to school-to-prison pipeline, officers based in schools write up to 300,000 misdemeanor tickets each year.
The criminalization of teen behavior has reached such staggering levels as to warrant actual instructional videos to teach children how to handle their charges.
How can we expect children to learn while being treated like criminals?
Free Sam Houston, and every other school in the nation.