October 29
00:00 2015

Use of force
by officer
at S.C. school
is offensive

To the Editor:

The video we have seen of a school resource officer violently flipping, tossing and thereafter banging the head of a young girl in her [Richland County] South Carolina classroom is offensive.

The videos shot by students display in morally vulgar vividness an unacceptable level of brutality and misuse of force. This type of brutality deserves no place in modern policing – it is even more outrageous that it would occur in a high school classroom.

This young student may have broken school rules, but there is nothing that indicates she broke any criminal laws or was a physical threat to anyone at the level that would require this officer to treat her like a violent criminal.

This is yet another example of the misuse of force and the exceedingly disproportionate contact of resource officers with young minority students.

This officer’s actions in front of a room full of young teenagers will no doubt have a devastating impact emotionally on the young victim and her classmates. It is our hope that these students are provided with counseling after witnessing and experiencing such a violent encounter. Those who provide security in our schools should only hold those positions after rigorous and thorough training, education and strict oversight.

It is even more disturbing that the guidance crafted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education on the use of Resource Officers in our Nation’s schools have clearly not been implemented in this public high school.

This is also a clear indication that the shifts in resource and spending by school districts have created an over-reliance on armed police instead of educated and trained school administrators. It is unfortunate that our school principals and vice principals, the traditional administrators of discipline, have been put in a position to rely on street policing inside our school classrooms rather than administering tried and true education discipline tactics.

There is no acceptable explanation for this officer’s treatment of this young student. The NAACP applauds federal officials on their announcement of a full investigation and demands that this officer be terminated and never again employed in a position where he has any law enforcement encounter responsibility with the public.

Cornell William Brooks
NAACP President and CEO Baltimore, Maryland

Thank you
for helping
us fight ALS

To the Editor:

When people are struck by ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis], it’s important that their friends and family step up to help. One of the first steps is finding a team of medical professionals to provide the highest quality of multidisciplinary care.

I’m incredibly grateful that The ALS Association aids our ability – and the ability of 48 other ALS Association Certified Centers of Excellence™ across the U.S. – to enhance care for people living with ALS.

The grant we received from the association, made possible by your generosity, allows our hospital’s ALS team to exist so that people living with the disease can visit specialists across care disciplines – neurology, pulmonology, and physical therapy among others – all during one appointment.

This approach to care is critical for helping people live the best life possible with this terrible disease.

As ALS Association chapters across the country do, the chapter in our community provides staff support to our ALS clinic in order to bridge the gap between hospital and homecare, in addition to lending medical equipment that might not be covered by some insurance programs.

So, what I want you to know above all else is that your donations to The ALS Association make a difference. I see it every day in the work that I do and in the lives of the people with ALS that we all care so much about.

For that, I offer you my sincere gratitude.

James A. Russell, DO, FAAN
Co-Director, Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic
Vice Chair, Department of Neurology
Lahey Hospital and Medical Center

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