In response to the October 5, arrest of Rockell Baldwin at Hanes Magnet School by a school resource officer, James Perry, Winston-Salem Urban League issued the following statement:
While we are still collecting facts in the disturbing and violent arrest of 14-year-old Rockell Baldwin at Hanes Magnet School, the current available information provides no reasonable explanation for an adult male to slam a child to the hot pavement, put his knee in her back, apply the full weight of his body to her, and hold her face against the hot pavement and handcuff her. We urge the following:
- The school resource officer who engaged in this behavior should be immediately and permanently removed from Hanes Magnet School;
- The school resource officer who engaged in this behavior should be immediately and permanently removed from any duties related to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System;
- The school resource officer involved in this matter should face disciplinary record view and dismissal by the Winston-Salem Police Department;
- The Winston-Salem Police Department should immediately release the disciplinary record of the school resource officer in question and inform the public whether the officer has been the subject of any prior complaints of misconduct; and
- The Winston-Salem Police Department and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System should immediately review all policies relevant to school resource officers to ensure that school resource officers reserve arrests as a last resort unless there is clear and are well-supported allegations of felony-level illegal activity or activity that endangers other students or personal.
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ statement to media punts all responsibility to the Winston-Salem Police Department. While we agree that the police department must be held responsible, the board and administration of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools cannot stand on the sideline as our children are harassed and must make clear its intention to defend children maligned by police misconduct.