Round Rock, TX — A school police officer is under investigation this week after a video was published online, showing him grabbing a small teen girl, half his size, and slamming her into the ground. The video, which was taken on Friday, has since gone viral.
According to police, the video shows the aftermath of an incident that unfolded on Friday at Cedar Ridge High School. Police said the girl in the video was seen in a separate video fighting with another student on a bus.
In that separate video, the fight is broken up by the assistant principal without issue.
As the video below shows, however, there did not appear to be any fighting going on when the officer grabbed the girl around her neck and slammed her into the concrete. While the girl certainly deserved to be disciplined for what the video on the bus shows, the officer's use of force appeared to be entirely over the top.
Deborah Fowler, the executive director at the Austin-based nonprofit Texas Appleseed, a group that promotes social and economic justice for all Texans, agrees.
“From the video, it’s very hard to see what the justification might have been for taking the student down to the ground the way that she was,” Fowler told WALB.
After the officer slammed the girl to the ground, she was then taken into custody for the incident which took place on the bus earlier.
After the video began to go viral, the school's principal released a statement saying, "My administrative team, along with district leaders, is working with Round Rock police to fully review the situation, what led up to it and how it was handled."
The Round Rock police department also responded to the video, noting that the officer's use of force will face scrutiny.
“We’ll take the appropriate actions that we need to take if we find the officer did anything inappropriate,” Round Rock Police Dept. Chief Allen Banks said.
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According to WALB, this incident occurred just as Round Rock ISD began considering making its own police force. Fowler, with Texas Appleseed, said her organization will make sure to watch that process closely.
“In our research we’ve shown that black students in particular are over-represented in interactions with police, including uses of force,” Fowler said.
As TFTP has pointed out before, adolescent quarrels are a frequent occurrence. As hormones rush in, children attempt to assert control over their environment as well as other children and the result can often manifest into a fight.
In the past, if a fight were to break out at school, the teachers, and in some cases the students, would rush in to pull the students apart—just like what happened on the bus in the video above. However, as the video above illustrates, when police are involved, violence is often escalated.
Sadly, as schools across the country rely more and more on police to force student compliance, instead of training and common sense, this scenario becomes more common.
In a single week, TFTP reported on two other instances of school police caught on video violently attacking children.
In one video, a massive deputy grabs a 16-year-old boy by the neck and sprays him directly in the face with pepper spray. The boy was not the one fighting.
In another video, another massive deputy grabs another 16-year-old boy and body slams him to the ground like a rag doll. The incident was so overwhelmingly disturbing that the school had to be placed on lockdown after students began to revolt.
Something has to change.