Police Assault Indigenous Youth with Disabilities at Central High School

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2023

Rapid City, SD – On December 3rd, 2022, on-site security staff and a Rapid City Police Department School Resource Officer at Central High School physically assaulted an Indigenous student with Autism, leaving him with a concussion, contusions, and lasting trauma. The student and their family have asked to not use their name in order to protect their privacy. School administrators have not spoken publicly about the incident. Meanwhile, assault charges have been filed against the student in Pennington County. The family of the student is demanding the school administrators be held accountable, the security and police officer fired for assault of a minor, and the police removed from the school.

Cases of violence inflicted on Indigenous children with disabilities have surfaced in Rapid City. Recently, a bus driver physically assaulted a 5-year-old boy, and an investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, several Indigenous relatives have been killed by police officers in the last two weeks. In response to the rise in police violence and discrimination against the Indigenous community, NDN Collective released the following statements:

“Removing police from schools is not only about addressing the immediate safety concerns of our students, but also recognizing and dismantling the systemic issues that lead to the school-to-prison pipeline.,” said Sunny Red Bear, Action Organizer, NDN Collective. “We must prioritize resources and solutions that promote restorative justice, mental health services, and other interventions that address the root causes of conflict, rather than relying on punitive measures that perpetuate the cycle of violence and harm.”

“I don’t know what a kid with a disability could ever do to provoke such violence from an adult security officer. For [the student] to have those kinds of injuries is unjustifiable. I am appalled at the indifference that Central High School has shown us — and then to turn around and charge [the student] with simple assault? This is discrimination against [the student] based on their race, their last name, and their disability,” said the Family of the Central High School Student.

“My child was picked up and slammed face-first onto the concrete by a school officer on what was supposed to be a fun night. Despite the fact that there was a crowd of people yelling at the officer to stop, and despite the fact that the officer’s violence left my child with a concussion, who is now being charged with ‘assaulting’ the officer, said the Central High School Student’s Parent. Now they are traumatized in a place they are supposed to be supported and learning.”

***Content Warning***

The following video contains violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

Video of the December 3, 2022 incident where police assault Indigenous youth with Autism at Central Highschool in Rapid City, SD.

Take action now!

Call Principal Randy Seales at (605) 394 – 4031


Email Chief of Police, Don Hedrick at chiefofpolice@rcgov.org

Demanding removal of onsite security and police from Rapid City, South Dakota Schools.

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

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Posted in Press Release