The media and the hand-wringing politicians who are dancing on the grave of the career of Columbia, South Carolina, School Resource Officer Ben Fields are pulling a fast one. They claim that, because “black lives matter,” the young woman who refused to relinquish her smartphone and leave math class at Spring Valley High School should not have been manhandled.
The exact opposite is true.
The conflict, now immortalized in three student-shot cellphone videos, played ad nauseam on network and cable television, and shared across the universe through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, reveals the profound racism not of cops or school administrators, but of society’s race minders, who treat members of the black underclass like farm animals fit for feed troughs and cattle pens.
The teenager, still unidentified at this writing, is described by her attorney as a 16-year-old whose mother is recently deceased, and who is living in foster care. The New York Daily News immediately began to refer to her in maudlin prose as an “orphan,” but scrubbed that term from its online articles when told not to assume that her father is dead. Despite such media exaggerations, what is clear is that, as a black teenager living in foster care, she is indeed an “at-risk youth,” in need of loving support as well as sound structures of authority and discipline.
Contrary to his depiction in the press, School Resource Officer Fields was well known and liked by Spring Valley students, and had also served as a strength and conditioning coach for the football team. On October 26, he was called into the classroom to remove the girl after repeated attempts by the teacher and an administrator to elicit compliance had failed. In uniform, Fields spoke calmly and firmly to her, warning her that he would get her out of her chair if she didn’t leave on her own. He then proceeded to do just that, grasping her shirt collar with one hand, and the knee area of her jeans with the other. She immediately began to flail and arch, planting one foot on the floor and pushing backward, away from the officer, while throwing a punch at the officer’s chest. Wrenching away from him, she wedged her leg inside the frame of the desk, which directed the force of his pulling backward, and the chair flipped over. Fields, in a fluid motion, kept her head from hitting the floor at full force, while dragging her tangled limbs out and away from underneath the desk. Once freed, however, the momentum of that motion launched her across the carpet, and she sailed a few feet, as if he’d tossed her like a rag doll. “Hands behind your back,” he ordered. “Give me your hands.”
The scene, from any of the three camera angles, is remarkable, but not for the reasons now cited by the bleeding hearts, who have been eager to give 15 minutes of fame to a handful of black fellow students willing to express horror at what they witnessed in that classroom and offer studied thoughts on the proper execution of school discipline.
It is remarkable because this is the level to which public schooling has sunk in so many of America’s predominantly underclass neighborhoods and districts. Fatherless children and young adults curse with impunity, play on smartphones tweeting vulgar nonsense, bully teachers and administrators who would dare tell them what to do, and sit in defiance as authority figures feebly attempt to coax them into simply following the rules. Into this chaotic world of disciplinary quotas, where teachers fear physical retaliation or charges of racism, are sent school resource officers, who now number some 13,000 in the United States, to arrest students (an incredible 92,000 per year) whose reply of “make me” to repeated pleas for obedience has no other answer.
“She didn’t do anything wrong,” was the refrain of the small chorus of interviewees, and the sad-eyed network anchors, for the most part, agreed. MSNBC paraded a host of experts who opined about the importance of teenagers having the opportunity to defy authority in a safe place. Now, they averred, that safe place is forever tainted by an act of racially motivated police brutality.
This opinion was not shared by the young black man who captured the infamous “third video,” the one with the best viewing angle, hoping (he later admitted) to protect Fields’s reputation and job. He has remained anonymous for fear of violent reprisal from his fellow academicians. Speaking to Columbia’s WLTX with the aid of voice-disguising technology, he expressed his concern that, with Fields’s firing, SROs will think that they can no longer do their jobs: “If we do have a resource officer who feels that way then you really aren’t going to feel protected in your school.”
Then, from the perspective of the victorious race hustlers, the unthinkable happened: At least a hundred students, black and white, protested the firing, urging administrators to “#BringBackFields.” One black student, Ty’Juan Fulton, interviewed by local news, praised SRO Fields for “doing his job,” adding, “Everybody respects him.”
“Everybody” doesn’t include Fields’s CO, Sheriff Leon Lott, who not only fired Fields but told a plaintive Anderson Cooper that he’s invited the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Fields for civil-rights violations.
The left does not care about these students. They are indifferent to the needs of young black men and women, who so often have the deck stacked against them, but who respond positively to the kind of authority figure that Fields represented—provided they do not yield to the constant pressure from the race minders to hate all authority figures and resist them to the exclusion of common sense. What will these students do the next time a teacher asks them to put away their phones?