We came to learn

A CALL TO ACTION FOR POLICE-FREE SCHOOLS

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Safety does not exist when Black and Brown young people are forced to interact with a system of policing that views them as a threat and not as students.

For many Black and Brown youth, the presence of police in schools disrupts learning environments. There is a culture clash that exists between law enforcement and the learning environment: police enforce criminal laws, while schools are supposed to nurture students.

We Came to Learn addresses the stark reality that police in schools is an issue of American racial disparity that requires deep structural change. We explore the question of why police are in schools at all and conclude that police are incongruent with the educational environment we envision for our children.

The over-policed school atmosphere can initiate, rather than mitigate, misbehavior by increasing anxiety, alienating students, creating a sense of mistrust between peers and forming adversarial relationships with school officials. Every dollar spent on police, metal detectors and surveillance cameras is a dollar that could instead be invested in teachers, guidance counselors, and health professionals that support, not criminalize children.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Black students made up only 15% of the school population, but 31% of students arrested or referred to law enforcement.

While constituting only 17% of public
school enrollment, Black girls represent
43% of girls arrested at school.

42% of high schools in the U.S.
have some sort of school police.

The Department of Justice Office
of Community Oriented Policing Services
(COPS) has invested close to $300 million
in school policing infrastructure.

1.6 Million STUDENTS

attend a school with school police, but not a school counselor

Source: 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection, “A First Look: Key Data Highlights on Equity and Opportunity Gaps in Our Nation’s Public Schools.” U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (June 7, 2016).

SCHOOL POLICING TIMELINE

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1953
The first time law enforcement, known as School Resource Officers (SROs), were permanently assigned to schools was 1953 in Flint, MI. The SRO Program rapidly expanded throughout the 1960s and 1970s to other school districts, including Los Angeles and Cincinnati. Local police departments in Tucson, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C. began placing police officers on school grounds, patrolling hallways and performing random check-ins.
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1967-68
The rise of Black and Chicano student walkouts from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, demanding culturally relevant education, educators of color, and quality education occurred during this time period. Students were confronted by buses or armed police officers, police violence, and arrests. 13 of the L.A. Blowouts organizers were arrested on felony conspiracy charges for "disturbing the peace" after the Los Angeles Police Department infiltrated their organizing efforts.
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1970-80s
President Richard Nixon, and later, President Ronald Reagan, declares War on Drugs, funnelling $1.7 billion to police departments. The War on Drugs led to mandatory minimum sentencing.
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1994
Congress passes the Gun Free Schools Act, imposing a federal requirement on school districts to adopt zero-tolerance policies for weapons, and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This allocated over more than $15 billion to prisons and prevention programs, created 100,000 new police officers and established Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants.
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April 1999
Columbine School Shooting: Two high school seniors murdered 12 students and a teacher, and injured 24 additional students. The massacre was caught on the high school’s security cameras in the cafeteria, forever altering societal views of law enforcement in ensuring the safety of staff and students. The Federal Department of Education responds with a cry to push for zero-tolerance policies across the country. The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program creates the "COPS in Schools" (CIS) grant, awarding more than $750 million in grants to more than 3,000 law-enforcement agencies, resulting in more than 6,500 newly hired school police officers.
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DECEMBER 2010
After nearly four years of organizing from the Urban Youth Collaborative, the Student Safety Act was passed in December 2010 and signed into law by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in January 2011. The law mandates quarterly reporting of suspensions, arrests and summons by demographics.
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SUMMER 2011
Obama Administration launches the Supportive School Discipline Initiative and School Discipline Guidance. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder publically recognize the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
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June 2012
Black Organizing Project wins Oakland’s Complaint Policy. The only one in the country, the policy is designed for parents and students to be able to file formal complaints on school police and security officers. The victory comes a year after the murder of 20-year-old Raheim Brown by Oakland School Police Sgt. Barhin Bhatt.
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February 2013
After years of organizing, Padres Y Jovenes Unidos, with support of Advancement Project national office, won the Denver Public Schools and Denver Police Department Intergovernmental Agreement significantly altering the roles of police officers in schools. The new contract redefines student offenses, separating behaviors suited for in-school discipline from those requiring police actions. The new model also urged de-escalation of conflict on campus, as well as a greater focus on restorative justice policies.
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October 2015
#AssaultAtSpringValley: A Columbia, SC Black female student, Shakara, is flipped from her desk and assaulted by a school police officer. Students, including Niya Kenny, who intervened, recorded the assault. Both Niya and Shakara were arrested and charged. The video went viral, causing a national outcry and moving the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) to take action, including leading #DropTheCharges work in support of Niya, coordinating actions, and shifting the national narrative on school police. AEJ began tracking school police assaults and building an infrastructure for rapid response work.
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April 2016
After two years, the Labor Community Strategy Center wins the campaign to end the 1033 Program in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The campaign took root after the Ferguson Uprisings, when students learned that the same military grade weapons used to suppress protests in Ferguson were the same weapons in the hands of the LAUSD Police Department. Through student organizing, LAUSD returned their military weapons, the tanks, grenade launchers, and m-16s, and issued an apology. There was a rapid increase of School Resource Officers on school campus across the country. The estimated number grew from 9,400 in 1997 to 20,000 SROs in 2013.
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#Assaultat map

Our #AssaultAt map charts the countless incidents of students being assaulted by school police in their place of learning. This list and map are ever-growing, but by no means are they exhaustive. This #AssaultAt map reflects numerous assaults captured on video or reported to local or national news outlets. Some even resulted in legal action. It is important to note, however, that there are many other assaults like these taking place regularly that don’t receive the same attention for any number of reasons, including lack of documentation, media bias, and so on. In viewing the #AssaultAt map, it becomes clear why #PoliceFreeSchools are essential to the well-being of our Black and Brown youth. Go To Map

#Assaultat map

May 2009

#AssaultAtAcademyForLearning

Dolton, IL

Marshawn Pitts, a 15-year-old special needs student, was beat by a school police officer for not tucking in his shirt as school dress code and policy requires. The student was confronted in the hallway by the officer and school staff. After walking away, the officer slammed him against the lockers, pinned him on the floor and broke the student’s nose.

January 2010

#AssaultAtKankakeeJunior

Kankakee, IL

Two federal lawsuits were filed by the parents of two 12-year-old boys who were shocked by a school police officer with a stun gun during an in-school demonstration.

November 2010

#AssaultAtNorthSide

San Antonio, TX

Responding to a minor assault and told to stay with the victim and not search for the suspect by his supervisor, the school resource officer disobeyed the order and ran into the backyard of a Northwest Side home with his gun drawn. Moments later, the officer fired his weapon, killing an unarmed 14-year-old Latinx North Side student.

January 2011

#AssaultAtSkyline

Oakland, CA

Raheim Brown was shot and killed by Oakland School Police Sergeant Barhin Bhatt outside of a Skyline High School dance. His crime: attempting to start a car with a screwdriver. Raheim and Tamisha Stewart were parked near the school while the car's hazard lights on. Sgt. Bhatt and his partner Jonathan Bellusa who were on patrol during the school dance, came across Raheim’s vehicle, and engaged in a verbal, then deadly altercation. Sgt. Bhatt shot seven bullets into the car, killing Raheim.

January 2012

#AssaultAtCummingsMiddle

Brownsville, TX

Eighth grade Cummings Middle School student Jaime Gonzalez was shot and killed in the hallways of the school after he allegedly refused to drop an air gun he brought to school.

April 2012

#AssaultAtCliftonHigh

Clifton, NJ

A video of the incident initially shows Clinton police breaking apart a fight off school grounds. However, it quickly turns to an unidentified officer fighting a 15-year-old, male student. The police officer pushes the student to the ground, punches him in the face as he stands up, grabs him by the neck and briefly puts him in a chokehold. As the student tries to twist away, a plain-clothed police officer appears to knee the student in the head and swing him into a busy street. The officers team up and slam the student into the ground where he is restrained with a knee in his back and handcuffed.

November 2013

#AssaultAtCedarCreek

Cedar Creek, TX

A 17-year-old Texas student spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after police used a Taser on him at school, while he was attempting to break up a fight between two peers. The student fell to the ground, striking his head on the floor, rendering him unconscious. He was then placed in handcuffs. School officials did not immediately call paramedics. When they did, he underwent surgery to repair a severe brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma.

2012-2013

#AssaultAtSparkman

Harvest, AL

A former Madison County school police officer, Jerome Heard, 44, plead guilty to charges of sodomy and engaging in a sex act with a Sparkman High School student during the 2012-13 school year. Heard was later indicted in January 2016.

November 2013

#AssaultAtSuitland

Suitland, MD

A school police officer was recorded by school security cameras removing his gun belt, placing his weapon on the floor, taking off his bullet-proof vest and kneeling down to pray before punching a 17-year-old student in the face for allegedly possessing.

December 2013

#AssaultAtCYDI

Chicago, IL

An off-duty Chicago police officer working security at Community Youth Development Institute targeted 17-year-old Aaliyah Russell-Morgan after being late for class. The officer yelled, “If you’re going to act like a boy, I’m going to treat you like a boy.” He then proceeded to wrestle Aaliyah, who is lesbian, down to the ground and beat her. Her brother came to her aid and the police officer kicked his teeth out.

May 2013

#AssaultAtEnloeHigh

Raleigh, NC

Following a police assault during a school water balloon fight, eight children, through their parents, filed a complaint in federal court alleging that school police “violently tackled,” pepper-sprayed, handcuffed, interrogated and arrested students on baseless accusations without informing them of their rights or calling parents.

April 2014

#AssaultAtAbilene

Abilene, TX

Three schoolchildren, through their parents, filed a lawsuit in federal court that a Abilene School Resource Officer violently assaulted them on three separate occasions: placed an arm-bar lock on a kindergarten student, a chokehold against a twelve-year old student, and repeatedly slammed a fifteen-year old student.

May 2014

#AssaultAtHighlandAlternative

Albany, GA

A surveillance video revealed a school police officer assaulting a 15-year-old student. The video shows the student walking into a hallway when the school police officer tackled the student into a wall and then body slammed him onto the ground. Then, the school police officer unleashes a barrage of punches to his face and torso. The officer restrains the student by kneeling on his legs and handcuffs him. As a result, the student has two bone fractures

May 2014

#AssaultAtSouthHouston

Houston, TX

Cesar Suquet was upset that district officials would not return a confiscated cell phone, so engaged in using profanity. In response, a district school police officer struck Cesar 18 times with a metal nightstick. His parents later took him to a medical clinic for extensive bruises and bleeding on his arm, back, and neck.

September 2014

#AssaultAtSamHouston

Houston, TX

Three school resource officers were recorded aggressively pinning a 10th grade, Latina student to the ground after she refused to give up her cellphone. Ixel Perez was on the phone with her mother when she was sent out of class and approached by her assistant principal who demanded her phone. Ixel refused, walked away, and was approached by three school resource officers. One officer handcuffed her while forcing her legs down by kneeling on them, while another officer pushed her head into the ground with the full force of his knee. Ixel was suspended from school and her cellphone was held until a $15 fine was paid.

September 2014

#AssaultAtChamberlain

Tampa, FL

After a report of having pepper spray, two assistant principals confronted Brittany Overstreet in the school lunch room. A school resource officer grabbed Brittany’s ankles and snatched her legs from under her. The officer slammed Brittany against a table and onto the ground, breaking her jaw. No pepper spray was ever found yet Brittany received a 10-day suspension.

January 2015

#AssaultAtOlmsteadAcademy

Louisville, KY

A school resource officer put a 13-year-old student in a chokehold which left him unconscious. The student, who had a friendly relationship with the officer, thought they were playing around. After being pushed by the student, the officer grabbed the student and choked him until the student could “barely breathe and had blurry vision.” The assault was caught on video.

January 2014

#AssaultAtVanguard

Baltimore, MD

A Baltimore City Schools resource officer was caught on video using a baton on three Black girls, sending Diamond McCullum to the hospital with a head gash requiring six stitches; the others for pepper spray exposure. After an altercation between the officer and a female student, two others gathered to intervene.

March 2015

#AssaultAtWoodlandHills

Allegheny County, PA

A school resource officer and principal brutally assaulted Woodland Hills Junior/High School student Ahmad Williams. The officer grabbed Ahmad by his collar, put him into a chokehold and dragged him down the school’s hallway. The officer body slammed Ahmad to the ground and tazed him while the school’s principal held down Ahmad’s head. Ahmad was snatched from the ground by the handcuffs and brought to an office where there were no cameras. He was again assaulted.

May 2015

#AssaultAtKissimmeMiddle

Kissimmee, FL

A school resource officer jabbed his finger in a student’s face before throwing him to the ground and nearly broke the student’s wrist. The assault occurred in the school’s office in front of the 13-year-old student’s mother. The student was arguing with his mother when the officer grabbed him by the shirt, placed him in a wristlock and lifted his body from the floor.

May 2015

#AssaultAtBartonHill

Los Angeles, CA

Andres Munoz’s wrist was broken when a Los Angeles police officer grabbed him, pulled his arm behind his back, and handcuffed him. The 11-year-old’s parents were not notified that their son was handcuffed.

August 2015

#AssaultAtLatonia

Covington, KY

The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two elementary school children with disabilities, 8 and 9 years old, who were handcuffed and traumatized by a Kenton County sheriff's deputy for behaviors that were manifested by their disabilities. The handcuffs did not fit on the children’s wrist, so they were placed on the children’s biceps, in a painful position.

September 2015

#AssaultAtCedarGrove

DeKalb County, GA

Keturah Hall, 15, was violently arrested and pepper sprayed by a school police officer when she refused to leave her classroom. After students were visibly upset over their weighted assignment grades, the teacher called in the school police officer who, according the lawsuit, grabbed Keturah, slammed her to the ground, placed his knee on her back and pepper-sprayed her as she lay helpless on the floor.

October 2015

#AssaultAtRoundRock

Austin, TX

Two school police officers confronted a Black Round Rock student, Gyasi Hughes, after a fight in the school cafeteria. The officers cornered Gyasi, who grabbed his backpack as if to leave. As he attempted to move away from the officers, one of the officers grabbed the 14 year old and put his hands on the boy. Gyasi attempted to remove the officer’s hand. At that point, the officer grabbed Gyasi by the throat and slammed him to the ground.

October 2015

#AssaultAtWilliamTolmanHigh

Pawtucket, RI

While handcuffing 17-year-old Ivander DeBurgo, a school resource officer was recorded grabbing 14-year-old Tyler DeBurgo by his throat and body slamming him into the ground. According the Pawtucket Police Dept., Tyler approached the SRO from behind, however, the video shows Tyler with his back turned to the SRO. The brothers were suspended for five days. The officer was removed from Tolman, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.

October 2015

#AssaultAtSpringValley

Columbia, SC

Shakara, a 14-year-old Black student, was asked to leave a classroom after using her phone during math class. She refused and was later confronted by School Resource Officer Ben Fields who aggressively demanded she leave. Fields grabbed her by the neck, slammed her desk to the floor and dragged her out of the desk. He also arrested another Black female student, Niya Kenny who filmed the assault and attempted to deescalate the situation.

October 2015

#AssaultAtGrant

Oklahoma City, OK

A school resource officer was arrested for assaulting a 16-year-old student. The student was reportedly in the hallway without a pass when the officer confronted him. When the student proceeded to get a drink of water, the officer struck the student twice in the head. The assault was caught on surveillance video.

November 2015

#AssaultAtParkHigh

Racine, WI

Racine Police Officer Brinelle Nabors and another police officer arrested a 14-year-old student for allegedly having a bottle of codeine-based cough syrup and soda. Nabors claimed the student made violent threats and resisted arrest. Nabors punched the student in the face and slammed him against the lockers while the student was in handcuffs. A third Racine police officer, who witnessed the arrest, testified that the student did not resist or threaten police officers. The student suffered injuries to his jaw, the back of his head, neck and left ear. The student faced criminal charges which were subsequently dismissed. More than three years after a school assault, Officer Nabors was found not guilty in 2019 for excessive use of force during the arrest.

December 2015

#AssaultAtMillardSouth

Omaha, NE

School Resource Officer forced himself between a group of students to stop the fight. Then, without provocation, the officer started punching a by-standing student in the face multiple times. According to the student who posted the video, the student getting punched wasn’t swinging during the fight.

December 2015

#AssaultAtProgressHigh

Brooklyn, NYC

NYPD officer Kareem Phillips was videotaped yelling expletives and striking Yordy Aragonez, an 18-year-old student, twice with a baton while he was on the ground, not resisting. While the NYPD were responding to a series of large fights within the school, Aragonez says he was defending himself from other students when Phillips pushed him into a full classroom.

January 2016

#AssaultAtSherman

Sherman, TX

Shatayvian Nelson, 15, was violently slammed to the floor by a school police officer during a fight with another female student. Shatayvian suffered a severe concussion but was never taken to the hospital of allowed to contact her mother.

January 2016

#AssaultAtFremont

Oakland, CA

Roberto Canales, 16, asked if he could be released early from school because he was not feeling well. After accusing Roberto of selling drugs, two officers moved Roberto from surveillance camera sight, handcuffed and assaulted him. The student suffered back injuries and was bruised. Two years prior, in the same office, the same camera caught two guards punching and choking a different student.

March 2016

#AssaultAtREACH

Baltimore, MD

A Baltimore school police officer violently slapped and kicked a Black student who was tardy while a second officer watched. REACH Partnership School reported two “intruders” outside of the school. The 16-year-old’s parents said their son was, in fact a student at the school. He suffered injuries to his face and ribs. The police officer was investigated and charged, but ultimately acquitted.

March 2016

#AssaultAtRhodesMiddle

San Antonio, TX

A school resource officer lifted a 12-year-old middle-school student into the air and slammed her to the ground while at lunchtime, knocking her unconscious. As she lied motionless, he handcuffed her.

May 2016

#AssaultAtBehavior

Las Vegas, NV

A Clark County School District police officer was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of using excessive force against a student and staff member. The officer assaulted a female student with his police-issued baton, slammed the student into a hallway wall and threw her to the floor. After the assault, the officer issued a false report of the altercation, accusing the student of being “aggressive, threatening and non-compliant.”

March 2016

#AssaultAtKnightdale

Knightdale, NC

After a scuffle between two students, a high school junior was pinned down by a school police officer and tazed. The student was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.

April 2016

#AssaultAtGateway

Killeen, Texas

During an altercation with another student, two Killeen police officers pulled a 15-year-old Gateway High School student from a school bus, picked him off the ground and body slammed him. The medical report stated the student suffered abrasions on his body.

May 2016

#AssaultAtCassTech

Detroit, MI

Detroit School Police responded to reports that a Black female student tried to ride the elevator with an expired elevator pass. The officer pushed the 15-year-old student into a corner in the hallway. The student took out her cell phone and the officer became enraged, slapped the phone from her hands and pushed her into the corner again with so much force that the student’s head appeared to hit the wall where she fell to the floor and cowered in the corner.

May 2016

#AssaultAtBenFranklin

Philadelphia, PA

A Black high school senior and Philadelphia Student Union member, Brian Burney, wanted to use the bathroom but didn’t have a pass. A school resource officer told Brian he couldn’t enter the bathroom and antagonized the student. In frustration, an argument ensued and Brian threw an orange against the wall. The cop retaliated and punched Brian twice in the face, slammed him down and choked him. A fellow student who recorded the incident was told to delete the footage or be at risk of arrest. His phone was taken from him by the officer who deleted the footage, attempting to erase the documentation of the assault.

May 2016

#AssaultAtCentral

St. Paul, MN

A school resource officer pushed a former Central student, who was asked to leave the campus, against a wall and kneed him in the back after taking him to the ground. The officer then sprayed a chemical irritant in the Black teen’s face and arrested him for trespassing.

May 2016

#AssaultatSherwood

Sandy Spring, MD

Police officer placed a female student into a headlock and then pinned her to the ground at her senior prom. The police officer believed that she and other students had been intoxicated, but reports show that she had not been drinking.

August 2016

#AssaultAtHoover

Fresno, CA

Following school dismissal, a 16-year-old Black student was assaulted by a school police officer for jaywalking across the street. The assault was recorded but the student was charged with resisting arrest and jaywalking.

September 2016

#AssaultAtEdgewood

Columbus, GA

A behavioral specialist slammed a student to the floor and injured the 13-year-old boy’s leg so severely that it had to be amputated.

September 2016

#AssaultAtEstillMiddle

Hampton, SC

A school resource officer was found guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a middle school student and engaging in a lewd act with a minor and misconduct in office.

September 2016

#AssualtAtHuffman

Birmingham, AL

As punishment for wearing a hat indoors, Black high school student Adam Goodman was assaulted by school resource officer in a locked cafeteria. “I thought we were going to have a normal conversation about the hat but it turned out to be something else,” said the high school junior. “When I turned my back, he punched me in the head and he grabbed me and then start choking me. He threw me on the floor and start kicking me in my back.” The assaulted continued until another officer knocked on the door and alerted the school principal.

September 2016

#AssaultAtCareerAcademy

Lowell, MA

A school resource officer handcuffed a 16-year-old student for alleged possession of marijuana. According to an 87-page report, the officer ordered the room be cleared, and grabbed the 16-year-old student by the neck, struck him in the head, and threatened to pepper spray him.

December 2016

#AssaultAtUrbanAcademy

Bronx, NY

A 14-year-old student was tackled, handcuffed, and tazed by school police officers after she tried to defend herself after months of bullying from other students.

January 2017

#AssaultAtRolesville

Wake County, NC​

A school resource police officer body slammed Jasmine Darwin, jerked her limp body up by the arm and dragged her away from surveillance cameras. Jasmine, 15, tried to stop a fight between two students. The officer was placed on paid administrative leave. The student was diagnosed with a concussion and forced to transfer schools.

January 2017

#AssaultAtArlingtonSchool

Pittsburgh, PA

An officer placed a 12-year-old student in a chokehold and slammed him against the wall for yelling and making “derogatory comments.

February 2017

#AssaultAtSouthGwinnett

Gwinnett, GA

During an altercation between students, a school police officer used excessive force to pin down a 16-year-old student, leaving him bloodied and unconscious. Three students were charged with disruption of a school.

February 2017

#AssaultAtNottingham

Syracuse, NY

Jabari Boykins, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was suspended for refusing to go to class. Upon leaving, the 14-year-old student missed his bus and returned to the school. A school police officer approached the student and the school’s vice principal, who were arguing and inquired about arresting Jabari for trespassing. The police officer shoved and grabbed Jabari by the neck, struck him, raised him in the air and slammed him to the ground. The student suffered a broken left arm.

April 2017

#AssaultAtWoodlandHills

Allegheny County, PA

On April 3, Steve Shaulis, a Churchill police officer at Woodland Hills High School, assaulted and injured Que’Chawn Wade, a 14-year-old student, after publicly using expletives and derogatory slurs towards him. The offending officer body slammed and repeatedly punched Wade in the head, causing him to lose two teeth and sustain bruises and multiple lacerations to his face and neck.

April 2017

#AssaultAtHuguenot

Richmond, VA

Two parents filed charges after a video was released of their 17-year-old son, Andre “AJ” Nious, who was body slammed by school police officers. A loud scream is heard in the video after a school police officer picked AJ off the floor and slammed his head to the ground. AJ had been in a confrontation with students who had been bullying him.

May 2017

#AssaultAtGabeAllenElementary

Dallas, TX

Dallas Independent School District Police responded to a call that 7-year-old Yosio Lopez was banging his head against the wall. The special needs student, diagnosed with ADHD and mood disorder, was choked by his school principal while the police Tasered and handcuffed him. He was taken to Dallas Behavioral Healthcare without his mother’s permission, where he was kept for nearly one week.

May 2017

#AssaultAtPiedmontGLOBAL

Dallas, TX

Mere days after the #AssaultAtGabeAllenElementary, a Dallas ISD police officer was caught on camera body slamming 12-year-old Mariana Benton into the ground. The Dallas ISD police officer also pepper sprayed Benton, which prompted medical attention that revealed her fractured clavicle from the forceful impact to the ground.

August 2017

#AssaultAtSmyrnaWest

Smyrna, TN

A school resource officer at Smyrna West Alternative School was caught on video pushing a student against the wall, pepper spraying him and slamming him to the ground – all while he was handcuffed. The officer was charged with assault, perjury, filing a false report and was later fired.

October 2017

#AssaultAtOrangeHigh

Orange, NJ

Police Officer Hanifah Davis was recorded slamming Kyasia Sorrells into a storefront and snatching her twin sister Nyasia to the ground by her hair. While he sat on top of both high school students, the school’s principal tried to intervene and was placed in a headlock.

October 2017

#AssaultAtEdRawlinsonMiddle

San Antonio, TX

Parents of a sixth grade student from Ed Rawlinson Middle School were outraged when a video surfaced of a campus police officer body slamming their son after he helped break up a school fight.

October 2017

#AssaultAtEagleRidge

Phoenix, AZ

A 10-year-old immigrant student in Phoenix was assaulted by a school police officer hired through the Phoenix Police Department. The student, who is autistic and has an Individualized Education Plan, suffered several injuries, including a dislocated shoulder. He was handcuffed and isolated in the school’s “calm-down” room. The mother, who is undocumented, arrived at the school and found her son handcuffed. She documented it with her cell phone.

October 2017

#AssaultAtSolisCohen

Philadelphia, PA

An officer forcibly removed 8-year-old Isaac Gardner Jr. from his Solis-Cohen Elementary classroom for refusing to leave his art class. Isaac was taken into a nearby faculty bathroom, shut the door and was thrown to the ground. Isaac reported that the officer also cursed at him and called him names.

October 2017

#AssaultAtConsumnesOaks

Elk Grove, CA

During an Elk Grove Unified School District school board meeting, Black parents addressed the school board about allegations of racial discrimination and use of excessive force by school police officers. One Consumnes Oaks High School parent testified about her son being lifted in the air, thrown across the vice principal’s office, and consequently arrested.

November 2017

#AssaultAtJeffersontown

Jeffersontown, KY

A student-recorded video that went viral showed three Jeffersontown Police Department officers assaulting a Black student at Jeffersontown High School. In the video, three officers are seen beating, kicking and using their Taser gun while the student was held face down on the floor. Immediately after, the school principal and the police department released statements justifying the police violence experienced and witnessed by students.

December 2017

#AssaultAtHoechMiddle

St. Ann, MO

Twelve-year-old Tyrese Leggitt’s arm was broken in two places after suffering a breakdown in class at Hoech Middle School. Rachel Kozma, Tyrese’s mother, said her son was on medication for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), making it harder for Tyrese to transition from angry emotions. The school claims the student pushed his teacher against the door as he was attempting to leave the classroom, though his mother said a school resource officer was the cause. Tyrese also faced suspension.

December 2017

#AssaultAtHoechMiddle

St. Ann, MO

Twelve-year-old Tyrese Leggitt’s arm was broken in two places after suffering a breakdown in class at Hoech Middle School. Rachel Kozma, Tyrese’s mother, said her son was on medication for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), making it harder for Tyrese to transition from angry emotions. The school claims the student pushed his teacher against the door as he was attempting to leave the classroom, though his mother said a school resource officer was the cause. Tyrese also faced suspension.

December 2017

#AssaultAtFitzgeraldMiddle

Pinellas Park, FL

A school resource officer deployed his stun gun as a Fitzgerald Middle School student walked away from a fight that occurred during dismissal. The female student’s back was turned to the officer during the incident and she was handcuffed while on the ground.

January 2018

#AssaultAtHelixCharter

La Mesa, CA

A 17-year-old Black female student was flipped and body slammed onto the cement floor at Helix Charter upon refusing to leave campus after she was suspended. The student, was sick and on medication when school staff accused her of being on drugs.

January 2018

#AssaultAtMadison

San Antonio, TX

Video taken at Madison High School during Saturday school showed a 16-year-old female student being pinned face down and arrested by school police officers. The two officers lifted her up, while handcuffed, and let her face fall to the ground. The student is heard crying for help. The student’s father arrived to the scene demanding the officers let go of the girl and he was placed in a chokehold.

February 2018

#AssaultAtSeventyFirstHigh

Fayetteville, NC

A 16-year-old Black male student was grabbed, restrained, and pepper sprayed in the face by a Cumberland County Sherriff's deputy and school police officer after the student intervened between two female students who were fighting.

February 2018

#AssaultAtSpruceCreek

Port Orange, FL

A Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy grabbed and threw a 16-year-old Black male student to the floor during an argument between the student and his girlfriend. The student was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a school board staff, even though smartphone footage shows the student never put his hands on school staff.

March 2018

#AssaultAtHumble

Houston, TX

Following a school fight, a school police officer flipped Essence Prince to the ground and used his elbow to pin down the 16-year-old female student by her thigh. Essence was questioned by police without parental consent and was initially denied medical attention.

February 2018

#AssaultAtBurnsville

Burnsville, MN

A 14-year-old Black student was Tasered in the chest, wrestled to the ground, and arrested outside of Burnsville High School by a school police officer following a confrontation with another student.

February 2018

#AssaultAtJemison

Huntsville, AL

During an altercation with another student, 15-year-old Steven Franklin was grabbed and body slammed head first into concrete by a school police officer. The impact fractured Steven’s skull, causing him to have a seizure. He was sent to the intensive care unit, where we had emergency surgery. The school police officer was removed from campus, but remained a contract employee.

April 2018

#AssaultAtLaMarque

La Marque, TX

William Jones, 17, was slammed to the ground and arrested by a sheriff’s deputy while attempting to stop his sister from fighting.

May 2018

#AssaultAtEastern

Lansing, MI

A former Lansing Eastern High School student came forward anonymously in the summer of 2018, describing unwanted advances, molestation, and sexual assault committed by Matthew Priebe, a former Lansing Police Department officer who worked as a school police officer. Priebe was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of assault and battery, and distributing obscene material to children. Investigative documents described inappropriate communications with multiple students.

August 2018

#AssaultAtEastLawrence

Lawrence County, AL

Decatur Police Lieutenant Archie Letson, who worked as a volunteer football coach at East Lawrence High School, was arrested for assaulting a player on the team during football practice. According to court documents, Letson slapped the student twice in the face, grabbed him by the hair, and threw him to the ground.

October 2018

#AssaultAtBruslyMiddle

Brusly, LA

A school police officer at Brusly Middle School repeatedly body slammed a 14-year-old Black male student as in the school's office as school staff. The student, who went to the school’s office to call his home to be picked up, allegedly argued with the school’s principal over his detention. The office’s surveillance footage shows the student passing the police officer, when the officer violently grabbed him, lifted him into the air, and slammed him onto the floor twice. The officer is seen punching the student repeatedly, as a second police office holds the student down. The officer claimed the student reached for his weapon, which was later proven false. Both police officers resigned and were indicted by a grand jury for malfeasance and simple battery.

October 2018

#AssaultAtHanesMagnet

Winston-Salem, NC

Rockell Baldwin, 14, was body slammed by a school police officer onto the ground in her The student received a hall pass from her teacher to call her mother because she was sick. While walking the hallway, a school police officer stopped her and demanded she return to class. Rockell walked out of the school building, where the police officer forcefully stopped her, slammed her to the ground and arrested her. The officer held Rockell’s face to the concrete, and pinned her body to the ground with his knee and arrested her as the principal and assistant principal watched.

October 2018

#AssaultAtSpringtown

Springtown, TX

A 41-year-old former Springtown Police Department officer who worked at Springtown High School was convicted of indecency with a child. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. During the trial, three female students testified on sexual assault, including a 14-year-old student who said the school police officer would take her out of class and molest her in the officer’s office.

October 2018

#AssaultAtLeeHigh

Jacksonville, FL

A school police officer was caught on film grabbing by the neck and flinging Sanji Sancho across a concrete floor. According to the 17-year-old student’s mother, the assault began after the officer would not allow Sanji back into the school after she was told her class was moved to the gym. When Sanji didn't find her class in the gym, she tried to get back through the gate but was stopped by the police officer. She suffered minor injuries on her shoulder and hand.

November 2018

#AssaultAtRockIsland

Rock Island, IL

While breaking up a fight on campus, a school police officer took 17-year-old Ariana Gabriel to the ground, pinned her face down on the ground while the student’s body weight was on her arm. Ariana suffered a dislocated shoulder.

November 2018

#AssaultAtRockIsland

Rock Island, IL

While breaking up a fight on campus, a school police officer took 17-year-old Ariana Gabriel to the ground, pinned her face down on the ground while the student’s body weight was on her arm. Ariana suffered a dislocated shoulder.

November 2018

#AssaultAtCaneRidge

Nashville, TN

During an altercation between three female students, a school police officer grabbed and body slammed a 14-year-old Black student, Jordyn Arnold to the floor. Jordyn told reporters that the officer pinned her down with their knee and the impact caused her to black out.

November 2018

#AssaultAtCaneRidge

Nashville, TN

During an altercation between three female students, a school police officer grabbed and body slammed a 14-year-old Black student, Jordyn Arnold to the floor. Jordyn told reporters that the officer pinned her down with their knee and the impact caused her to black out.

December 2018

#AssaultAtEastEnglish

Detroit, MI

A Detroit Securitas security guard violently intervened in a student altercation caught on video by a student. The white male security guard grabbed a Black female student by her hair and threw her against a stair railing. Following the assault, students led a restorative circle on campus to begin healing the harm.

December 2018

#AssaultAtAlcovy

Covington, GA

A student-recorded video showed two school police officers grabbing 14-year-old Asah Glenn by the throat, lifting him in the air and slamming him against a wall and to the ground. During class transition, students grabbed candy out off an open vending machine. Another student was pepper sprayed during the assault. Asah was charged with theft, disorderly conduct, disrupting a school function and obstruction. He was suspended for three days. Two other students were also charged with theft.

January 2019

#AssaultAtWashingtonElementary

Tampa Bay, FL

A school resource officer, hired through the state-mandated Guardian Program, was arrested and charged with sexual battery for blindfolding and sexually assaulting a 6-year-old student. Tillman allegedly took the 6-year-old out of class to a "game room" at the school, covered the girl's face with a jacket, and sexually assaulted her.

January 2019

#AssaultAtHiggins

Jefferson Parish, LA

Jami Coston, 18, was assaulted by a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy at L.W. Higgins High School. The assault left Jami’s face bruised and bloodied. The student was accused of smelling like cigarettes in his classroom. When Jami refused to be searched, the teacher called in the deputy who tackled Jami to the floor and handcuffed him. Jami was arrested and taken to an office where students reported they heard him scream. He was taken to Jefferson Parish Jail and booked for battery of a police officer, resisting an officer and interfering with an educational facility. The following day, students protested and demanded Jami be released. The school police and additional Jefferson Parish police assaulted, pepper sprayed, and arrested more students. The school also suspended and expelled students who exercised their right to protest.

January 2019

#AssaultAtMarshall

Chicago, IL

Chicago police officers were caught on a student-recorded video assaulting 16-year-old Dnigma Howard. Dnigma was accused of taking out her cell-phone during class. Instead of allowing her to talk to her counselor, as stated in her Individualized Education Plan, the school called a police officer to forcefully escort her from the classroom. In front of students and Dnigma’s father, police used their stun gun and hit Dnigma in the face. Dnigma was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery, which were later dropped. The two police officers were removed from the school. The president of the Fraternal Order of Police released a statement opposing the court's decision to drop the charges.

January 2019

#AssaultAtFerris

Spokane, WA

Students at Ferris High School protested the alledged use of excessive force on a student by police officer Shawn Audie. The officer pinned an 18-year-old Black male student to the ground with his knee on his back. Audie became a school resource officer in September 2018, after resigning from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office in lieu of being terminated. While at the Sheriff’s Office, Audie was accused of excessive force four times, and was sued in federal court three times for alleged violent behavior during arrests, including a case when a man lost consciousness and died from Audie’s chokehold.

February 2019

#AssaultAtHazleton

Hazleton, PA

A student-recorded video went viral of a Hazleton area school police officer who punched a 15-year-old Black female student in the legs and kneecaps, then slammed her head onto a lunch table as two other men restrained her. The officer then proceeded to pull the students hair and pin her head on the table. At least four students were expelled following the altercation between the students.

February 2019

#AssaultAtOnslow

Onslow County, NC

School police officer Deputy David Pickett beat 13-year-old Jorge Miguel Lopez in an empty classroom. The officer claimed the student flung a chair at him, but security cameras proved that to be false. The deputy allegedly used excessive force to get Jorge to the floor and repeatedly punched him, causing the student to suffer a fractured nose and eye. According to students, the officer repeatedly bullied students and got into altercations with both male and female students.

February 2019

#AssaultAtOwatonna

Owatonna, MN

After a series of racist social media posts by white students targeting Black students, including the repeated use of the “N-word”, a confrontation between students took place in the school cafeteria. The school called in police, who placed the campus on lockdown. Police tackled students and two of the young people were taken into police custody and charged.

February 2019

#AssaultAtCommerce

Springfield, MA

Security cameras at the High School of Commerce captured a school police officer making eye contact with a Black male student walking in the hallway, walking towards him as the student passed him, and then gabbing the student by the back of his neck and slamming him against the wall. When a second police officer intervenes, the student is arrested.

March 2019

#AssaultAtCedarRidge

Round Rock, TX

A school police officer was recorded slamming a Black female student onto the ground outside of her school. Prior to the incident, the student was in an altercation with another student on the school bus. When she was escorted from the bus by school staff, the officer ran up to her and flipped her onto the ground. The student was taken into police custody.

March 2019

#AssaultAtDalewoodMiddle

Chattanooga, TN

Recordings show a Dalewood Middle School police officer and a school staff member pinning a 14-year-old Black female student to the ground. The officer and staff member wrestled the student and put her in handcuffs. The student was sent to the hospital before being processed at the juvenile detention center, charged with simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Students of color are more likely to attend schools that employ school police officers, but no school counselor.

JOHNATHAN'S STORY

Jonathan, a 17-year old student in Miami, Florida reflects on how it feels to have a police officer on your campus and how it affects the school climate.  

TAKE ACTION

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