SC Superintendent of Education speaks out about viral video, SRO - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

SC Superintendent of Education speaks out about viral video, SRO's actions

Many questions surround a viral video appearing to show a school resource officer at a South Carolina high school arresting a student using, what some call, "excessive force."

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is expected to make a decision Wednesday on the actions of Officer Ben Fields. 

Some Spring Valley High School students caught the incident between Officer Ben Fields and a student on video inside a classroom Monday.
            
South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman was in Horry County Tuesday evening talking about issues that face our students in the classroom, and she also spoke about what she hopes to see come from a federal investigation of the incident.

Many are questioning the officer’s actions and what problems may have lead up to the arrest, but they’re also questioning policies surrounding how authorities and administrators handle similar incidents in our schools.
 
"It's shaken us, and it's reminded us that we always need to be doing better,” Spearman said. “We're going to be working with educators and law enforcement to review our policies."

Spearman called the video disturbing. 

 "We need to look at this disproportionate number of African American students who are being expelled from school and get to the root cause of that,” Spearman said.
 
The video has pushed state school leaders to seek help from the federal government, through agencies like the US Department of Education.
 
"Help us get down to why is this happening because we don't want it to happen again,” Spearman said. “I hope some good can come out of this."
 
Spearman called Officer Fields’ actions ‘over the top.’
 
"I think he injured the trust that the students have in law enforcement, so that's not a good thing...we need to correct that,” Spearman said.
 
She says this incident has opened her eyes about other issues that may be happening in South Carolina schools.
 
"We need to review the training for our school resource officers,” Spearman said. “I learned today our training may not be up to national standards...so we need to improve that."
 
Spearman said she will be talking to state groups and legislators Wednesday about other ways schools can improve discipline policies and correct other issues this video uncovered. 

Copyright 2015 WMBF. All rights reserved.

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