• Ella Hakimian

Assembly With Lake Success Police Force

On Wednesday, February 23rd, members of the Lake Success Police Force came to speak to the eleventh grade about police brutality and racism in the field. Earlier this year, Dr. Maxwell's students read the highly controversial book, The Hate You Give. The book describes a tragic and gruesome scene in which a young black teenager living in the neighborhood of Garden Heights is killed by a police officer. The officer pulls the boy over and forces him out of his car. Seconds later, under the impression that the boy is pulling a gun out of his car, the officer shoots the boy on the spot. The object that the police officer assumed to be a gun was, in fact, just a hairbrush. Although this may be considered a legitimate excuse for shooting, the officer seems to be out for Kahlil even from the beginning of the interaction. That being said, this is just one perspective, and some may argue the other side, saying that Kahlil was disrespectful to the cop from the minute he got pulled over. In order to get a more professional outlook on the situation, Dr. Maxwell brought two police officers in to discuss their experience in the field and their opinion on the shooting in the book. Together, the officers had 4O plus years of experience in the police force. They assured all 11th graders that they never pulled a driver over or treated a citizen differently on the basis of race or ethnicity. They said that while all situations are obviously different, they handle all encounters with the same level of respect, fairness, and understanding. The officers even acted out the scene in The Hate You Give for us and told students that they would've been much more skeptical than the police officer in the book before pulling the trigger. Nonetheless, situations like these can be extra tense in the moment, and no one say how they would've reacted in that highly stressful situation. The officers ended off by explaining that the media portrays and generalizes police brutality to be more extreme than it is. They also took questions from students, many of whom wanted primary evidence for their book trial on the novel (Book trials are an annual event run by Dr. Maxwell in which students put a certain controversial book “on trial,” and debate whether or not it should be banned).

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