Group wants counselors, not cops on Wake school campuses

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The call comes on the heels of a videotaped school fight that ended with an officer body-slamming a girl.

Video of a student being body slammed by a school resource officer is sparking a call to action two weeks later. A group of parents and activists want school resource officers replaced with school counselors.

Early Tuesday evening, while Wake County School Board members conducted their regularly scheduled meeting inside school headquarters, a group was standing outside in the rain. The small group of parents, students and activists stood at a podium at the entrance to the complex off Dillard Drive, representing the many who have called board members since that video went viral.

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On January 3, video recorded by a student and posted to social media, showed 15-year-old Jasmine Darwin being body slammed by a school resource officer at Rolesville High School. The officer was breaking up a fight. That night, Darwin's mother said her daughter suffered a concussion.


"When I saw the video of Jasmine being body slammed about two weeks ago, I was appalled, I was disgusted, I was hurt for her and her family," said Letha Muhammad.

Muhammad doesn't know the family but she's a mother of three Wake County students and a parent organizer for the Education Justice Alliance.

Muhammad and several others say that while this incident was recorded, it's not isolated, so they've drawn up a list of demands that they sent to the Wake County Public School System.


While this group spoke to news cameras outside, board members were discussing inside.

"We see this and we hear this," said Board Chair Monika Johnson-Hostler as part of her opening remarks at the meeting.

She said she and several board members have been receiving calls from the public about what happened. She also said she was pleased with the quick action of the Rolesville Police Department, which placed Officer Ruben De Los Santos on administrative leave and called in the State Bureau of Investigation.

As far as actually getting rid of the longtime use of school resource officers, she said that's not something she could answer right away.

"Everything is worth a conversation when we experience something like we did, such as that viral video that made all of us feel some sense of surprise, angst and concern," said Johnson-Hostler, who went on to say, "we do need more funding, I don't disagree we need more counselors. We need to look at what does early prevention look like in our schools so that we don't land in this place."

Wake County schools does not employ school resource officers. They are part of a community partnership with local law enforcement agencies. Board members say the guidelines are routinely reviewed and will continue to be reviewed going forward.

"Specifically notes that when there are instances of intervention, that they shall, quote, not be excessive, arbitrary or malicious," said Board Member Jim Martin, "I think it's important that we as a board reinforce that as our commitment."

ABC11 reached out to the Rolesville Police Department for any updates on the investigation and they said that at this time there are no updates.

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educationhigh schoolschool fightviral videowake county schoolsRolesville
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