The U.S. Department of Justice announced an agreement with a South Carolina sheriff’s department whose deputy violently dragging a Black female student across a classroom floor for refusing to turn over her cellphone.
A DOJ statement said the Richland County Sheriff’s Department will “promptly enact changes to ensure full compliance with federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination against students based on race, color, national origin and disability.”
Under the settlement, the sheriff’s department will provide annual training on de-escalation and unbiased policing to its officers who serve schools, develop policies to reduce school-based arrests and establish a community working group that will recommend improvements.
“The Office for Civil Rights is committed to working with communities like Richland County to ensure that students’ civil rights are protected and school-based law enforcement responses are safe and fair,” said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason.
According to CBS News, the negotiations that led to this agreement began five months before the incident at Spring Valley High School, where there were previous complaints about arrests at schools. Going forward, deputies will focus on criminal conduct—not classroom management issues that school staff should handle.
The news outlet also noted that this agreement does not settle the DOJ’s investigation into Deputy Ben Field’s arrest of the 16-year-old student.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a lawsuit on Thursday that challenges South Carolina’s laws against “disturbing a school” and “disorderly conduct.” The organization alleges that the laws are too vague.
“Every year, more than a thousand students in South Carolina — some as young as 7 years old — face criminal charges for not following directions, loitering, cursing, or the vague allegation of acting obnoxiously,” the ACLU said in a statement.
The organization underscored racial disparities in enforcement: Students of color are four times as likely as White students to face criminal charges. Moreover, in Charleston, Black kids are six times more likely to get arrested for those vaguely worded discretionary crimes than White students, the ACLU said.
31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody
1. Kathryn Johnston, 92Source:Getty 1 of 26
2. Tarika Wilson, 26Source:Getty 2 of 26
3. Shereese Francis, 30Source:Getty 3 of 26
4. Shantel Davis, 23Source:Getty 4 of 26
5. Alesia Thomas, 35Source:Getty 5 of 26
6. Malissa Williams, 30Source:Getty 6 of 26
7. Darnesha Harris, 17Source:Getty 7 of 26
8. Shelly Frey, 27Source:Getty 8 of 26
9. Miriam Carey, 34Source:Getty 9 of 26
10. Yvette Smith, 47Source:Getty 10 of 26
11. Michelle Cusseaux, 50Source:Getty 11 of 26
12. Aura Rosser, 40Source:Getty 12 of 26
13. Tanisha Anderson, 37Source:Getty 13 of 26
14. Eleanor Bumpurs, 66Source:Getty 14 of 26
15. Natasha McKenna, 37Source:Getty 15 of 26
16. Janisha Fonville, 20Source:Getty 16 of 26
17. Meagan Hockaday, 26Source:Getty 17 of 26
18. Alexia Christian, 25Source:Getty 18 of 26
19. Sandra Bland, 28Source:Getty 19 of 26
20. Gynnya McMillen, 16Source:Getty 20 of 26
21. Symone Marshall, 22Source:Getty 21 of 26
22. Korryn Gaines, 23Source:Getty 22 of 26
23. Deborah Danner, 66Source:Getty 23 of 26
24. Alteria Woods, 21Source:Getty 24 of 26
25. Charleena Lyles, 30Source:Getty 25 of 26
26. Cariann Denise Hithon, 22Source:Getty 26 of 26
DOJ & S.C. Sheriff Reach Deal After Cop Dragged Black Female Student Across Classroom was originally published on newsone.com