-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Two Derby, Kansas police officers, acting as school resource officers, ordered Jonathan Villarreal, 17, to pull his pants above his waist. Jonathan was walking with friends to the bus after school let out, and he told the officers he would wear his pants how he wanted. According to Jonathan, one of the officers pulled him to the ground and both officers kneed him in the back and neck. During the struggle, Jonathan’s arm was broken and he was tased.
The officers handcuffed him until paramedics ordered the cuffs removed. Jonathan was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated and released.
The police claim that Villarreal used profanities when officer asked him to pull up his pants. The officers tried to escort Villarreal back inside the school, but he refused to go.
Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said his department will investigate to see if the use of force was appropriate.
If the police officers have nothing better to do than to enforce dress codes after school is out, maybe their presence and corresponding expense are unnecessary. The police should be there to respond to criminal conduct or imminent danger, school officials should be enforcing dress codes.
This is an example of the School-to-Prison Pipeline, wherein minor offenses are dealt with using the juvenile and criminal justice system. Often these minor offense escalate due to over aggressive policing. The blame for this situation lies squarely with school officials. They seem more interested in preserving their authority than in providing an educational opportunity for every child. Challenging authority is a virtue, not a vice. This country was founded on the restriction of authority and the celebration of the individual.
Being arrested nearly doubles the odds that a child will drop out of school, and if there is a court appearance, the odds are nearly quadrupled. Disproportionately, it kids of color who are victims of these police tactics.