On These Grounds

On These Grounds

An explosive viral video shows a white policeman throwing a Black teenager from her school desk. One woman uproots her life to help the girl, face the officer, and dismantle the system behind the “Assault at Spring Valley.”

  • Released: 2021-03-20
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Genre: Documentaries
  • Stars:
  • Director: Garrett Zevgetis
  • BDeWittP - 12 November 2022
    Sending the wrong message
    On These Grounds opens with the quote "Pull a thread here and you'll find that it's attached to the rest of the world." Amen. Unfortunately, the world is spiraling downward very fast. This movie is a prime example of that. The level we've sunk to is amazing, infuriating, and scary. This movie reminded me exactly of just how infuriating it was watching "Stranger Fruit." The movie's focus is on a disrespectful belligerent student, who happens to be a black female and makes her into not only a victim, but a hero. On October 26th, 2015, at Spring Valley High in South Carolina, Officer Ben Fields was called in to a classroom by a math teacher. The student, Shakara, was politely asked to leave the classroom and refused. Hold it right there. Why didn't she just do as she was told? Her friend Niya encouraged her classmates to get their cameras out. She started questioning the officer. The officer forcefully removed the student. Both were later taken to jail for their actions. The officer was later fired for excessive force. The officer was white and the students were black. Supposition: racism.

    Okay, I'll concede that going to jail may be a little harsh, but why are students disrupting class in the first place? Why did the teacher feel the need to call the officer to the classroom? This is exactly what is wrong with society today: encouraging disrespect for authority, supporting the disrespectful people who cause the problems, and wrongfully blaming the authority figures. It's also calling this a racial issue. The movie has everything backwards. This was not a racial issue, it's another one of those issues our society is making into a racial issue.

    The student, Shakara, was and IEP (Individualized Education Plan), with a learning disability. She was attending a math class and wanted to call her resource teacher because she didn't understand math and refused to take the classroom test, thinking she would most likely fail. The teacher asked her to leave the classroom. She refused. At this point, the film focuses on the teacher being at fault for just giving her a detention and "leaving it at that." Really? Doesn't the teacher have a right to remove a student from the classroom? Maybe the kid wasn't disrupting the class, but she was still being disrespectful. Why isn't the focus on the fact that maybe if the student had just left, this "excessive force" would've been unnecessary.

    Officer Ben Fields politely asked her to leave, he tried to be reasonable, and she refused. The officer physically removed her, throwing her to the ground. After several attempts to be reasonable, the student was resisting and not complying. The disturbing thing about this film is that focus is never on teaching kids to respect authority, but rather, why are our kids being arrested? Why are officers getting physical with the kids?

    Maybe if parents taught these young disrespectful kids to just do as their told and argue in front of the judge instead of refusing to comply with and respect authority, maybe we wouldn't have these problems. If students were taught respect for their teachers in the first place, maybe we wouldn't need police in the schools. Why not focus on the real problem? Society needs to get their priorities straight and get that part right. If we focus more on moving closer to teaching respect for law and order, rather than moving closer to anarchy and anti-authority, maybe we wouldn't have these problems. The movie needs to get that part right.