A federal judge believes that officers in Birmingham, Alabama are in need of additional training to drastically reduce the number of times officers use pepper spray on non-violent schoolchildren, but police feel that their use of force is just peachy and are opposing the order.
Birmingham police were issued an order by U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon who ruled that the officer’s use of pepper spray in situations that students offered no threat and remained non-violent is not only unnecessary, it’s unconstitutional.
The judge did not oppose the officer’s use of pepper spray in certain situations of violence, but opposed their liberal use of the painful tool.
The Southern Poverty Law Center who is representing several students who were the victim of resource officer’s pepper spray said that they feel the officers in Birmingham are woefully undereducated in appropriate usage of pepper spray.
Officers are also not properly educated on ways to decontaminate victims and the surrounding area after the spray has been deployed, prolonging exposure and suffering.
Judge Kallon ordered the police force to more adequately train officers who work in schools and work to eliminate the use of pepper spray in situations that do not involve violence. The order seems reasonable enough, yet the police force is appealing the ruling, claiming that they should not have to have any different policies for offenders inside of a school.
School resource officers are not full-fledged police officers and are given even less training than an officer on the street, and yet we trust them to maintain order and safety among young students. Allowing them to use pepper spray anytime they feel the need is an idiotic and dangerous way to conduct young people.