Niya Kenny had never heard of the school-to-prison pipeline until it came to her classroom.
Kenny was sitting in math class last October at her high school in Columbia, South Carolina, when a student sitting a few rows away got into a verbal squabble with their teacher. When the 16-year-old student, named Shakara, resisted the teacher and a school administrator’s instructions, the adults called on a school cop for assistance.
What happened next became the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, two arrests and several cell phone videos that received millions of views online. The cop flipped Shakara and her desk to the ground, violently dragged her across the floor and put her in handcuffs.