Osceola County, Fla.—Statement from National Education Association President Becky Pringle, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar and Osceola County Education Association President Lare Allen about the disturbing video showing a Florida school officer violently slamming a high school student to the ground:
“Every single child in America should be safe in school. No matter whether you’re white, Black, Latino or Asian, no matter whether you’re native or newcomer, or rich or poor, every one of our children should be able to go to school without fear of violence.
“While we are still gathering information, from watching this video, one thing is already clear: There is no excuse for what happened to this young woman. Body slamming her is despicable, and regardless of what transpired beforehand, this is excessive force and the officer must be held accountable. It’s difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that implicit and explicit biases played a role in this tragic altercation.
“This should catalyze a conversation in Osceola County about culturally responsive teaching and restorative justice practices. It’s far past time to get everyone to the table and get the ball rolling on that process, while a full investigation into this incident is conducted.
“Together, we can make every neighborhood public school a place where all children can learn, grow and thrive.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.