ABWH Statement on Child Brutality in Columbia, South Carolina 

The Association of Black Women Historians joins with people of conscience who demand that Richland County South Carolina Drop the Charges Against Niya Kenny and the 16-year-old Black Girl Brutalized by Former School Resource Officer Ben Fields.Like many across the nation, the members of the Association of Black Women Historians have been horrified by the brutal assault on a teenager at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.  The victim is in foster care and separated from her family, if she was in fact “disruptive,” it’s clear that she needs help, not a vicious beating and a police record.

Likewise, Niya Kenny, the 18-year-old who bravely stood up and decried Ben Fields’s violence, also does not deserve a criminal record.  Instead, Ben Fields should be facing criminal charges for abuse under the color of authority at the very least.

We are demanding that the prosecutor drop all charges against the two students and expunge their arrest records.

Black girls are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory, disciplinary practices; so much so that recent studies have shown that black girls are among the fastest growing juvenile justice population and suspended six times the rate of their white counterparts.  The violent, criminalization of black girls at Spring Valley High School is a disturbing example of how the school-to-prison pipeline that must halted immediately.

For further direct action here are the email addresses of persons who should hear of your concern and interest in halting the brutalization of our children.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott ( sheriff@rcsd.net) or call (803) 576-3000
Principal Jeff Temoney  jtemoney@richland2.org
Superintendent Debra Hamm  dhamm@richland2.org
School District Board Members:

We encourage you to add your name to petitions at change.org and colorofchange.org.
For the Executive Board,
Francille Rusan Wilson, Ph.D.
National Director, Association of Black Women Historians
(PDF available here)

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