National shock and outrage followed the spread of cellphone footage on Monday showing Deputy Ben Fields violently attacking a female student for allegedly using her cell phone during class. Since then, Deputy Fields has been fired, and both local and federal investigations have been launched. Although these actions have been taken, charges are still being pressed against two students.
Niya Kenny is one of the students arrested who is facing charges. Kenny became upset at the treatment of her fellow classmate after Deputy Field flipped her over in her desk and dragged her to the front of the classroom. Kenny attempted to stand up for the girl, and was also arrested for "disrupting the school." Kenny has been released on a $1,000 bail.
Officers with the school resource program deny and injury to the student involved, but the student's attorney has reported that she suffers from back and neck injuries, has a cast on her arm, and a bruise on her head. A petition is being circulated to drop all charges against the two Spring Valley High School students.
Deputy Fields is no stranger to complaints about his actions and tactics as a school resource officer. He is set to stand trial in January 2016 for a lawsuit filed by a former student who alleges that Fields "recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity."
There has been a spotlight on the mistreatment of black women and girls recently, spearheaded by Kimberle Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum (AAPF). The AAPF released a report last year titled "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected," which explains how girls of color face harsher school discipline than their white peers. The data collected reveals, among other things, that nationally black girls were suspended a startling six times more than white girls, while black boys were suspended three times as often as white boys.
Media Resources: Media Resources: NY Daily News 10/28/15; CNN 10/28/15; Change.org Petition; Feminist Newswire 10/27/15;