Public schools

School Cop Slams 12-Year-Old Texas Girl Onto Concrete Walkway

You can trace today's police-on-student violence to post-Columbine overreactions.

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Janissa Valdez, 12, a sixth-grader at Rhodes Middle

Blame it on Columbine overreactions.
Youtube

School in San Antonio (Tx.), was viciously body-slammed to the ground by school police officer Joshua Kehm last week.

Kehm, who has since been placed on paid leave, was trying to restrain Valdez as she approached another girl while a crowd of students gathered around in anticipation of a fight. But Valdez told ABC affiliate KSAT that she didn't want to fight, only to talk to the other girl and ask her to go somewhere else to talk out the conflict.

That's when Valdez says the officer grabbed her from behind, swung her around, and planted her head-first onto a concrete walkway.  

Video of the incident emerged yesterday (see below), and there's really no other way to describe it other than as a disturbingly disproportionate use of force against a young child. 

Valdez' mother, Gloria, told NBC affiliate WOAI:

She wasn't moving. She was just knocked out. I wanted answers and nobody could give me answers. I contacted the vice-principal. I talked to the officer. He did what he had to do at the moment—those were his words.

In separate comments to KSAT, she said:

You could actually hear her head hit the concrete. That's what hurt me the most…he didn't even seem like it bothered him. He still handcuffed her after she was unconscious.

The Washington Post quoted Judith Browne Dianis of the Advancement Project, "a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization," who said in a statement that the incident at Rhodes Middles School "demonstrates the urgent need to take action to remove police officers from our schools," adding, "It is unconscionable for a 12-year-old student involved in a verbal altercation to be brutalized and dehumanized in this manner."

Police officers are not trained youth mediators or teachers, and this is not the first time a cop has treated an unarmed if not entirely cooperative student with extreme violence. Last year, a South Carolina school resource officer threw a disobedient female student out of her desk and dragged her across the floor (he was fired), and a Kentucky school cop took a 50-pound 8-year-old-boy's arms and handcuffed them behind his back by the biceps.  

In post-Columbine America, police officers have been increasingly assigned to patrol schools, but as Sheila A. Bedi wrote in US News and World Report"well-intentioned" policymakers created a "overly punitive and police-centric response to high profile school shootings" that led to "countless schoolchildren…targeted by school-based police officers and subjected to police brutality in their public school."

Bedi lists some life-altering offenses that led to certain children's arrest, including "excessive flatulence or wearing the wrong color uniform." She adds:

But if you have doubts, ask the six-year-old child who was handcuffed to a chair as punishment after he got into a scuffle with another boy in the school cafeteria. If he doesn't convince you, perhaps the scores of schoolchildren who police assaulted with pepper spray (while at school) will. Or talk to one of the 3.3 million public schoolchildren who are suspended from school each year, often as a consequence for minor rule breaking, such as talking back to teachers or fistfights.

As Michael Tracey put it in a 2011 article for Reason, "Dead Kids Make Bad Laws," and with this latest incident out of Texas, one can trace how the reaction to a paradigm-shifting crime in Colorado led to the brutalization of a young girl born years after that tragedy. 

NEXT: Almost Everybody Wants Federal Sentencing Reform, So Why Hasn't It Happened?

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  1. Heroes, every one of them.

    Thank Zod for the Thin Blue Line between civilization and anarchy.

    1. “Teachers shouldn’t carry guns in school because they don’t have police training.”

      Uh, feature, not bug.

  2. “Paid leave” is another way of saying “bonus vacation”.

    1. I can understand these people being put on paid leave before it is determined that they were at fault. But how about we start getting reimbursement from them if it is determined they committed a terminabler offense? We might not be able to collect from most of them, but it sure is better than a free ride.

      1. You could give fhem a choice at the time of the incident: quit now or have your paid leave dollars at risk.

      2. Yeah right. Since when were police terminations remotely permanent? They just appeal and appeal until they quietly get their job back, while working another job the whole time. Then they go out and buy some rental property with the fat check they get for several years worth of back-pay. And nothing else happens.

  3. In Iraq, the police are called ISIS.

    1. Hey!! That’s not very nice to compare those two!! ISIS doesn’t try to hide it’s brutality, and it’s slanderous that you’d imply they have a level of dishonesty equivalent to US Police!!

  4. Well, that’s proportionate use of force if I’ve ever seen it.

  5. I talked to the officer. He did what he had to do at the moment – those were his words.

    I was wondering at what point he knew he fucked up his job. At that very moment would be most people’s time of realization. His, apparently, when he was put on leave. (And maybe not even then.)

    1. I doubt he considers what he did to be wrong. He’s a cop. That means he is a sociopath and a pathological liar who routinely acts with depraved indifference. He may be worried that the media attention might cost him his job, that in his mind that’s the media’s fault, not his.

  6. Reading the original story on PM links, the family is definitely sugarcoating elements of this with them even claiming she wasn’t ‘fighting’ or resisting. The cop-defenders are going to pounce on that shit.

    It doesn’t matter what a 12 year old really was or wasn’t doing. So, a lot of uproar, faux debate, and nothing else really happens.

    Also, apparently Texas has a law where if your kid gets arrested a school, the parent is fined.

    1. Yeah, I saw it on the news this morning. I don’t believe for a minute that the girl ” just wanted to talk”, but it doesn’t matter.
      Any grown man that can’t handle a twelve year slip off a girl without body slamming her into the concrete is a pussy, and definitely shouldn’t be a cop, especially a cop patrolling a school.

    2. If she had a gun, maybe, maybe, that was proportionate use of force. Beyond that, no. Even with an adult, deadly force — which is what that was — can only be used in extremis.

  7. She said that, should the investigation determine the officer used excessive force, it will not be tolerated in the school system.

    Seems like a determination that any rational human being could make just watching the video. It’s a 12 year old girl. If you can’t restrain her without the bodyslam, you shouldn’t be a cop.

  8. This is obviously excessive force, but I have yet to see an easy solution to the violence from students. Teachers aren’t allowed to touch them. Police tend to be overaggressive, to put it kindly. However, there is a growing problem of kids fighting both each other and teachers/faculty with very serious assaults. (This was not one of those cases). Kids fought often in my high school, but never came close to striking a teacher or ganging up to beat a helpless victim. St. Louis teachers almost went on strike because they felt unsafe from the violent students. Suspensions and expulsions aren’t okay anymore because they’re racially disparate, and they hardly have an effect to begin with. I hate to say “it starts at home”, but it does. Unfortunately we can’t, and shouldn’t, do anything about that.
    If anybody has a reasonable solution to student violence I’m all ears.

    1. However, there is a growing problem of kids fighting both each other and teachers/faculty with very serious assaults.

      Citation needed.

    2. The problem is the schools have either hamstrung themselves, or gotten hamstrung from courts, etc., so that teachers and principals can do fairly little – no paddling, no racially-disproportionate suspensions, no smacking Little Johnny with a ruler.

      So to solve that self-created problem, call in outsiders who aren’t subject to such restraints – the cops.

      Miss Mapleleaf can’t lay a hand on Johnny without getting sued or fired, she can’t send Little Johnny to the principal’s office because he’ll just be sent back to the class and the principal will criticize Miss Mapleleaf for wasting the principal’s time, so screw it, they may as well call in the cops to do what teachers used to be fully capable of doing.

      1. It’s never, “we made a mistake, let’s stop making it,” it’s “well, that mistake created bad consequences, let’s make another mistake to deal with those consequences.”

        1. Now the schools can use the cops as a buffer against criticism – “we’re just deferring to Officer Friendly here, it’s not like discipline is one of our core responsibilities as educators.”

          1. (“wink wink, if you feel you have to do the stuff we’re too beta to do, well, I guess we’ll turn a blind eye.”)

      2. One word: expulsion.

        1. One word: Boxing Gloves (OK, two words).

          When I got in a fight in school back in the 7th grade (~’69), the PE teacher had us meet after school, strapped on the gloves, and we pounded each other for a few minutes. We remained friends, and that was that. And you can’t shank somebody when you’re wearing boxing gloves.

          1. This is 110% child abuse. Unless you’re PE teacher was a licensed psychoanalyst with approval from an ethical review board, then, under controlled circumstances, it *might* be okay.

            It’s okay for societies and governments to haphazardly learn that MAD/scorched earth policies are bad ideas and to rigidly enforce the rules so that nobody engages in them. But allowing or encouraging your kids to learn these lessons themselves and/or intrinsically is tantamount to inflicting these lessons on them yourself physically. Which you shouldn’t do either because paternalism is bad and MAD/scorched earth practices are bad and only adults get to decide which is more bad when and why. And by adults, I mean TOP MEN adults not regular adults or parents.

            1. Sounds like someone lost that fight.

              /ironic

              1. Warty hit me first!

            2. The teacher wasn’t throwing them in the Battle Dome against their will.

              They wanted to fight. He let them fight, but in a controlled and safe manner. I don’t have a problem with it, and it didn’t seem like they did either. They could have hurt each other more playing football or soccer.

              A generation of kids growing up in bubble wrap gives you the special snowflakes who think their tender feelings should be protected with bayonets.

              1. The teacher wasn’t throwing them in the Battle Dome against their will.

                I should’ve put a ‘/sarc’ at the end of my post.

                I routinely refuse to stop fights among the spawn and/or will make things deliberately harder/worse for the any/all broodlings for invoking (my) authority. *Especially* if I don’t approve of or can rationalize any/either side’s right to initiate or retaliate.

                However, there is a vein of ‘libertarians’ for whom this is a pet issue. People should be free to do anything and everything they like except have and raise their own children as they see fit. Because, apparently, only TOP MEN *know* how to do paternalism right *always*. Our mass incarceration rate and false notions of rehabilitation are, somehow, unrelated.

      3. there is a case to be made schools have hoisted their own employees, but not a single news article will look at that aspect. The single focus will be on the single action which is hard to defend.

      4. Bringing cops into schools to help with discipline is insane.

        The schools around here dont seem to have major discipline problems and paddling is available as a disciplinary option at our kids’ school, parents can opt out by signing the “no paddling” form at the end of the handbook but my understanding is hardly any parents do opt out. We dont sign it.

    3. a poster on the Lynx raised this question: if this was you body-slamming your own child, do you suppose anything would happen?

      1. They’d arrest you – it would be almost as bad as letting them walk to school.

        1. Indeed. Even if the kid had punched her mother.

        2. When you got out of jail your kid would be in foster care, brainwashed into believing you are a complete monster, and you would not be legally allowed to contact them.

      2. Look, you’re operating under the assumption that the kid belongs to you. It doesn’t. It belongs to the state as soon as you decide not to get an abortion.

    4. Behavior problems can only be treated with medication. Drooling zombies don’t start fights.

      1. So you’re saying you never watch movies?

      2. Well, in all fairness they may *try* to start fights but it’s kind of like kittens fighting with pillows strapped to every available limb.

  9. He did what he had to do at the moment – those were his words.

    OFFICER SAFETY!

    Better ten thousand teenage girls suffer blunt force head trauma than one school resource officer get cat scratch fever.

  10. should the investigation determine the officer used excessive force, it will not be tolerated in the school system.

    If it doesn’t end with the officer in jail, I’d say it’s being tolerated.

  11. Did the cop dance around pumping his fists in the air after the knockout?

    1. Nah. Barrel rolls, like the cop at that pool party on Texas last summer.

  12. planted her head-first onto a concrete walkway.

    She landed on her side and those are paving bricks, nice and soft clay-fired masonry set into an even softer sand base, not concrete, grow a pair you molly-coddlers.

  13. I think this story is missing some crucial detail, namely – what kind of medal will he get? Is there a cash prize of some kind?

    Paid leave is nice and all, but surely a hero like this, who can react in the moment with such pristine judgment, should get more than that, right?

    1. I think he gets a ridiculously large, gold plated belt that he can wear around his waist or over his shoulder.

      1. I’m thinking cops in Judah Friedlander hats.

        1. Plus he gets to squeeze her little titties.

          1. OMWC approves that message!

  14. Heroes.

  15. His only mistake was not uttering the magical incantation: “I feared for my life.” Had he done that then nothing else would have happened.

  16. Holy fuck, I was about to expect to see the cop merely take her down to the pavement and then wait for the ensuing discussion about whether or not he really went too far. That’s a dangerous body slam, one that can leave people permanently injured.

    Not okay.

    1. She was knocked out. She could have been paralyzed, put into a coma, or killed. This is depraved indifference, at the least, and attempted murder at the most.

  17. The Federal government encourages and funds this shit, to the tune of 753 million dollars in grant money. We all have to pay so kids like this 12 year old girl can be thrown around like a rag doll for what, mouthing off? Arguing with another student? I haven’t seen where she was involved in physical altercation when he grabbed her.

    http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=54

    ” COPS has awarded in excess of $753 million to more than 3,000 grantees to hire more than 6,500 SROs (School Resource Officers) through the CIS program. COPS has provided more than $10 million to hire approximately 100 SROs through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program.”

    These officers cost over 100K per year in many jurisdictions.

  18. The comments defending the cop are disgusting.

    Especially the ones from women.

    Wtf?

    It’s okay to potentially permanently injure or even kill a CHILD because they were being belligerent?

    What in the fuck is wrong with people?

    1. Because it was an authority figure. Some people are such sheep that they will excuse any action by Top Men.

  19. Well, if she’s not WWF material, that’s her fault.

  20. Way way excessive use of force.

    Should have just tazed the impudent little imp instead.

    1. Taze her, bro!

  21. he didn’t even seem like it bothered him.

    Of course it didn’t bother him. He’s a fucking sociopath. Not only that, but he probably took the school cop job because that way he would never have to worry about running into someone who could do that shit to him. So he’s a sociopath and a pussy.

  22. This pig will never see the inside of a jail for this action .

  23. His job was to *prevent* her from harming anyone else.

    The fact that the video *starts* with her already apprehended and only moments before the take down makes it hard to know how much of a threat she posed to the other student, herself, or the cop. One way of interpreting her struggles is as an attempt to get away from the cop to attack the other student. We don’t know how many chances he gave her to calm down, how long she had been struggling with the cop, and how successful she had been in her struggles.

    Looks like a clearly out of control kid who needs to be put under control and kept from other kids. And yes, kept from injuring the cop as well. It’s a non-trivial problem to do so. At some point, I start to cut cops a little slack when the situation is difficult, they are in a physical struggle, and there aren’t easy solutions.

    One thing you might note – where are the quotes from the girl the “victim” was approaching to “talk”? Wouldn’t that make a more complete story, than just asking the attacker what she was doing, and having her say “I just wanted to talk” even though the report is that all the other students were “anticipating a fight”?

    1. And I don’t see that Reason has come up with a coherent response to the problem. Bemoaning the costs of the situation is not to propose a solution. Yes, you will get injuries and excessive force in trying to physically control kids. If you don’t physically control them, they can harm other kids and themselves.

      A kid who will wrastle with a cop who is trying to restrain her from harming another student is probably not the safest kid for anyone to be around.

      So, no cops in schools, and let the girl attack the other student? If a student struggles, let them go to run amok in the school?

      Controlling student violence in school is a nontrivial problem. Can’t kick them out. Can’t restrain them. Can’t injure them. Can’t have “disparate impact”.

      It’s easy to bitch about a bad situation, but not so easy to find better solutions. Violent kids should be restrained from hurting other kids. Cops seem like a more appropriate solution to that problem than teachers. It’s an imperfect world.

      1. He restrained alright. Restrained her unconscious on the pavement. Once you have the dangerous tween lifted off the ground you have finished doing what I would call restraining them. The added step of slamming them to the pavement can be foregone.

        1. Exactly. If that girl weighs a hundred pounds then I’m the pope (I’m not the pope). If that cop weighs less than 200 pounds, then I’m the POTUS (I’m not the POTUS).
          Sure, in a physical struggle adrenaline starts flowing. I get it. But we don’t let civilians off the hook because they were worked up.
          Slamming that little girl onto the ground was an action that anybody other than a PIG would have been arrested and charged with felony child abuse if they had taken, immediately. No “take some paid time off while we investigate whitewash this.”
          If that was my daughter, I’d be in jail for beating the ever-living shit out of that child abuser.

      2. “Violent kids should be restrained from hurting other kids.”

        Sure.

        If you’re in charge of restraining children, and you can’t restrain a twelve-year-old waif without resorting to a bodyslam, YOU ARE A FAILURE and should be fired perhaps not for excessive force, but for clearly being physically unable to do your job because you are a pussy.

        Would ANY other job get this kind of treatment?? If a web designer does his job, but plasters animated gifs, scrolling marquees, and COMIC SANS all over the site he is supposed to make, and he gets fired, I bet I wouldn’t see YOU defending the designer. Sure he was “only doing his job”, but he was BAD at doing his job, and thus deserves to be fired.

  24. GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THEY KILLED HER!

  25. Wow. Twelve years old, less than half his size, unarmed, and he gets a paid vacation. The school district will pay out, the municipality will pay out and this fucker will not even lose his job. We need personal and severe consequences when cops fuck up like this. That is the only way towards change. This bastard should do time for criminal assault with battery.

  26. Fuck the pigs. Roughly. With a sideways butter knife.

    But, “Valdez told ABC affiliate KSAT that she didn’t want to fight, only to talk to the other girl and ask her to go somewhere else to talk out the conflict”…. That’s as big a crock of horse shit as anything I’ve heard a pig say this year. Doesn’t make any difference at all, but still, come on.

    1. And yes, I understand the kid said this…. What I mean is, when we normies lie like that, it brings us down to the piggies’ level, and who exactly does that help?

  27. …Judith Browne Dianis…said in a statement that the incident at Rhodes Middles School “demonstrates the urgent need to take action to remove police officers from our schools,” adding, “It is unconscionable for a 12-year-old student involved in a verbal altercation to be brutalized and dehumanized in this manner.”

    But…but…who will protect all the children from all those racist southern white gun owners?

    Oh, right, I forgot. Take away everyone’s guns first; only then can your children be safe from the police in school!

  28. Jesus Christ! I’m glad that was caught on video. Sad!

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