Deputy Fields: Perpetrator or (Second) Victim?

Deputy Ben Fields, the South Carolina police officer of the infamous desk-flipping incident at the Richland County Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, was fired a day after the incident.

An internal investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff’s office concluded that the “maneuvers he used in the confrontation were not acceptable.”

Uh-Hun.

Ya think?!

Before you send me a virtual high five, though, because you think you’re about to read a piece on the condemnation of this man, you might want to hold back on your high fives.

In no way, shape or form do I believe that this grown man should have abused this child,  and he needs to bear the full responsibility for such a unconscionable  act. 

It was abusive.

It was wrong and it was an unacceptable use of force on a student.

Before you condemn this man to rot in hell for eternity for his abominable, unacceptable, abusive actions, though, let me ask you these questions:

What created the environment that had Deputy Fields in this position to begin with?

Why is it necessary to have police officers on our campuses today to assist with these “little behavior problems” that are steadily increasing with each passing day?

Where are the support systems for these hard-working, over-worked, under-paid, abused officers and teachers who are entrusted with educating this challenging group of children?

Obviously, these are multi-layered problems, with multi-layered solutions.

I would just like you to consider the position that these officers and teachers are placed in EVERY day of their working lives, before handing down a judgment on this man.

I was a teacher of SBD (severely behaviorally disordered) children many years ago, and I can tell you, from firsthand experience, it’s a war zone in some of these classes.

Our school was the last hope for some kids, before they got carted off to juvie hall.

So, you either made it with “Miss B” or off to kiddy jail you went.

I can honestly say that all of my kids stayed out of juvie hall, but I can’t claim that some of them didn’t end up in the prison system, as they got older.

Unfortunately, my intuition and instinct tell me otherwise.

Things at my school got so bad that the staff had to take a special training called, PART (Professional Assault Response Training), to learn how to predict, assess and respond to aggressive/challenging behavior of our student population.

During the training week, the school staff called a “special meeting on ME”, one afternoon, because I innocently announced, at the previous PART meeting, that “I didn’t spend all my time, money and energy getting an education, so that I could get a job learning tactical strategies in how to take down a kid.”

“After all,” I naively informed them, ”I was a lover, not a fighter and I’d be damned if I’d put ME,  or one of my staff people in harm’s way taking down some kid twice my size, from their junior and senior high programs.”

“My body’s meant for giving hugs, not doing take downs,” I empathically continued.

Uh-Hun.

Well, hugs are real hard to give when your 8 year old student, without any provocation or warning, abruptly stands up, starts swearing “F–K You” to who knows who and commences to throwing student desks around your classroom at everyone and anyone near him!

The only thing I could do was safely get my other kids and instructional assistant out of harm’s way and let him trash the room, while I called the Police.

Did you ever watch an 8 year old get handcuffed?

Not fun.

You know what else wasn’t “fun”?

Watching a very patient, loving police officer get spat on, kicked in the groin, bit and hit on by an out of control, totally wild 8 year old.

After the boy was handcuffed and placed into the back seat of the police car, I watched this thrashing child, who looked like a “caged animal”, somehow kick-in the back window of this officer’s vehicle, and I wasn’t sure who I felt sorrier for – my 8 year old, that was handcuffed and kicking, in the back seat, the frustrated, defeated-looking Police Officer, slowly driving out of our school’s parking lot; the concerned, very involved staff people, who didn’t have a clue as to how to deal with him, or me, his caring, naive teacher, who wondered if she somehow could have read his mind and avoided the whole scene?

Maybe I felt sorry for all of us.

And maybe, just maybe, there’s a small part of me that feels sorry for all the School Resource Officers and staff people out there who are doing their jobs, day in and day out, with a throw away population of kids that not a lot of people want to deal with on a regular basis.

There’s no excuse for Deputy Ben Field’s actions with the 16 year old, South Carolina student.

But maybe gathering more background information on the situation can explain part of what caused this horrific scene to take place, in the first place, and we can use this incident (and other incidences like it) to go forward as a society, and put into place the necessary programs and support systems to help future Deputy Fields and the unsung, hard-working, dedicated teachers and staff who work with this population of children.

Until that day, I’ll simply ask that you try not to judge him as anything other than what he is, “an imperfect human being, who committed an egregious act.”

Let the judicial system take care of Deputy Fields and his inappropriate behavior, and let’s put our limited time, energy and monies into helping the teachers, staff, guardians and students themselves, with these behavioral problems; so that we, as a society, can learn from this heinous act and avoid having other future student and staff victims.

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Published by

Lucie

After much encouragement and prodding by family, friends and professionals, I (a former Special ed. teacher and consultant from Northern Ca., who recently moved to the Olympic Peninsula of WA.) decided to take my FACEBOOK postings on my silly life with my life partner and 2 wacky cats and share them with a broader audience. I sincerley hope that I can bring a chuckle or two to all who enter my world when you read my blog. (Now let's hope that I can muster enough competence to figure out how to use this site in a reasonably competent fashion, so that I still have fun writing and others can actually "find me"!!!!) I wish all who enter "Lucie's World" much joy and laughter and ask that if I've touch your life in any way and made you giggle or smile, that you "pay it forward" for the week and share a moment or two of laughter with someone that you care about....

12 thoughts on “Deputy Fields: Perpetrator or (Second) Victim?”

  1. Lucie, when you write passionately about a topic you know well, you’re on fire. You’re also absolutely right. My first response to the tape of the officer was that the poor man might have been at the end of his rope, knowing he was supposed to handle a potentially explosive situation, having tried other techniques, and then having absolutely no idea what to do. As a teacher and principal, I have seen educators, staff members, and police officers deal with similar situations: sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much, rarely with the use of force this officer used — but close. I’ve walked up to that cliff and found ways to avoid it, but I was lucky. I whole-heartedly agree that we, as a society, need to learn to deal with the unhappy, troubled, out-of-control children in our schools; schools which, unfortunately, are often the safest places these children have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and I hafta meet someday, Jan. I’m sure we’d have “similar cliff hangers”. I had to leave “the profession” before it killed me…I tried my hardest to help as many of these “little buggers” as I could before I left, but it’s a thankless, burn-out job after so many years. I so wish I could be part of a task force for the NATION to help out. We, as a society, our headed down a “path of no return” and I’m worried. I’m seeing less and less people go into the teaching field and almost NO ONE going into the working with this “troubled population” and I don’t honestly blame them. We can use this situation as a “turning point” for the good, we just have to work TOGETHER on this and work as a team. Otherwise, we’re going to have to build more prison systems and…well…that’s another topic for another day. YUCK! I need to go back to being silly! The Princess and I had a totally SILLY experience and I need to get it written and posted! Enough seriousness! Time to lighten up! Catch ya later, Kiddo! And thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

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  2. I just read an article that said what appeared to be him throwing her on the ground was the momentum gained by her throwing herself away from him. I think there is absolutely more than meets the eye here. I do not condone abuse, but I also don’t condone disrespect. This student did something bad enough to warrant the calling of law enforcement. Why is that being so downplayed in the media? Oh, because it’s OK for children to do what they please with no consequences. That’s right.

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    1. No, it’s not “ok for children to do what they please without consequences”, but I think we need to look at what created this whole fiasco to begin with….We’ve got a 16 year old badly in need of an “attitude adjustment” and a Police Officer “stressed” or doing what his superiors “told him to do”???? I have friends in the police business who are saying that they’re “told to use force when necessary”…..I never heard of such a “behavior management tactic” like what I saw, so I don’t have a clue…I just think we need (as a society) to start supporting our SRO officers, teachers and staff to avoid future situations, like this..I just saw it as a “lose/lose” situation for BOTH of them,,,,Trust me, I truly have been there and totally understand the defiance exhibited by “these brats”….they can be total PUNKS!!! That’s why I’m now a “retired teacher”…it’s a burnt out job that few people appreciate and it “takes it’s toll” on one’s body and mind…especially if you truly care and love kids….Highly appreciate you “stopping by” and commenting!!! 🙂 I always appreciate “conversation” with my readers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good for you. I think most kids want to model “good behavior”/respect….My “hats off to you” (for teaching!) It’s a hard job even with “the untarnished ones”…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Gasp!

    Well said.

    Years ago, I considered taking a job as a counselor for the last chance camps at the Eckard Foundation. I would have been living in camps supervising children/teens, wards of the state, who literally were last chance. As part of the interview process, I had to live for two days in one of those camps. The counselors warned me that you could not allow these children to touch you or get near you. It was dangerous in more ways than one. I did not sleep well. And the tests that the Foundation subjected applicants to were pretty intense. That job scared me. I didn’t take it when it was offered!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. This wasn’t an “easy piece”, but one that’s “close to my heart” because of my early teaching experiences…..sounds like “not accepting that position” was a good choice for you…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Buddy! Not a lot of people even understand what these kind of jobs are like…I “survived” 5 years and then went on to another “group of kids” with a whole other set of “problems”… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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