Actress Jill Scott in 2014
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Jill Scott told the Huffington Post in a piece posted Wednesday that she used to be a teacher, so she knows how contentious it can sometimes get between students and teachers. Even so, Scott says she saw something different take place in the video that captured the assault at Columbia, S.C.’s Spring Valley High School, where a school resource officer swung on a teen student.

“This is violence. He swung that child around like he hated her. And that’s too much,” Scott said. 

“You’re supposed to be the adult," Scott said about teachers. “You’re supposed to be able to take a breath and walk away and still do your job."

She explained that it’s also telling that none of the other students in the classroom did anything, as if what was taking place were something normal. She thinks it’s a sign of a kind of behavior or negative energy that is ongoing in the classroom or school.

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“The way that the students and the teacher were so lackadaisical about the whole thing. Nobody screamed, nobody stood up. […] It looks like something that’s been going on in that school for a long time.”

Not just any ole body should be able to become a law-enforcement personnel, and especially in a school, Scott argues. She thinks folks need to pass emotional-intelligence tests in order to become one. “I think there has to be a test. Just like you have to learn how to hold and to use your weapon—I think police officers need to learn how to use their minds and hearts,” she said.

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“I think there needs to be physiological examinations before you can become a police officer, examinations about your past and lie detector tests. It’s easy for any of us to end up in somebody’s prison, and I’d like it to be a lot harder for police officers to become police officers.”

Not to mention the racial and cultural cues some of these officers are bringing with them while on duty. Scott thinks that applicants need to be fully aware of them in order to try to keep them at bay once on the job. “These are people, and I think their fear may overwhelm them, and whatever residual feelings they have from childhood or whatever.”

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Well said, Scott.

For more of black Twitter, check out The Chatterati on The Root and follow The Chatterati on Twitter.

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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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