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Viral video shows white school police officer punching, pulling hair of Black student
A video uploaded to Facebook shows a white school police officer holding a Black student down against a table and grabbing her hair, BuzzFeed News reports. The incident occurred at Hazleton Area High School in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and led to the expulsion of four students.
The clip, posted by a student of the high school, opens to complete pandemonium. One student is seen shouting “Let me go!” at the beginning of the video while being restrained.
The camera pans over to another female student being restrained by four grown men associated with security at the school. One man punches her in the leg in order to pin her onto a table. He then grabs the student’s hair as she lays face-first against the table. Meanwhile, other students are heard in the background of the video yelling for the man to let her go.
Per local news outlet WBRE, the superintendent of the Hazleton Area School District Brian Uplinger said, “It’s important to know there are always two sides to every story and it’s really important for parents and students and community members to get both sides of those stories before going to social media.”
But it’s hard to imagine any situation that would require the amount of force being displayed by security in this video.
The disparity in the number of Black kids in school and the percentage of those kids receiving disciplinary action continues to grow in America. According to federal data, in the 2015-16 school year, Black students only made up 15 percent of students enrolled nationwide yet made up 31 percent of students arrested by or referred to the police.
Ignacio Martinez is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin and an intern at the Daily Dot. His work has appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM.