School Climate & Safety

Video: School Police Officer Body Slams Girl to the Ground

By Evie Blad — April 08, 2016 1 min read
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The San Antonio district expects to wrap up an investigation of a school-based police officer who slammed a 12-year-old girl face-first to the ground in a video that spread quickly online this week, Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in a message to staff today.

In the video, apparently posted to YouTube by a student, the male officer can be seen struggling with the student at Rhodes Middle School as her peers laugh. The tone changes quickly after he throws her on the ground and her peers repeatedly ask her, “Are you OK? Are you OK?”

Martinez called the video, which was filmed in late March, “very disturbing” in a message to staff, and said it was difficult both to watch the incident and “to read and hear the response from people across the country who are outraged and want answers.” The officer is on leave pending the conclusion of the investigation, he said.

“I cannot stress enough that we do not tolerate the use of excessive force in this district,” Martinez said in a previous message to staff. “Our students are the reason we are here, and their safety is our top priority.”

The district is working to interview as many witnesses as it can locate, and it is “seeking details on what led up to this incident and how it was handled,” it said in a statement today. “This goes beyond the officer’s handling of the situation to examine the administrative response as well.”

The video is the latest of a violent encounter with school police to gain attention online. Advocates for limiting the role of school police say such incidents are more common than many people realize. The videos are providing evidence of the need for changes in school discipline policies and sparking valuable discussions, they say.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.