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On These Grounds

A Film by Garrett Zevgetis

101 minutes and 59 minutes

Scene Selection • Closed Captioned

Grades 9 - Adult
Item #:OTG-2016

Select DVD License (limited PPR included)

K-12 Classrooms, Public Libraries: DVD - $89
K-12 Classrooms, Public Libraries: DVD + Digital File - $139
Community Screening, Businesses: $295
Colleges, Institutions: DVD - $345
Colleges: DVD with Digital Site License - $445
K-12 School District pricing available. Please inquire at [email protected]
An explosive video from South Carolina goes viral, showing a white school resource officer pull a Black teenager from her desk and throw her across the floor. An intense public debate is sparked as an outraged nation finds itself divided over who is at fault and what role race played in the incident.

Healer-Activist Vivian Anderson uproots her life in NYC to help the girl and dismantle the system behind the "Assault at Spring Valley", including facing the police officer. To contextualize this incident, geographer Janae Davis treks the surrounding swamps to unearth the overgrown and neglected homes of formerly enslaved people of African descent, charting a thorough path from past to present.

Much like the country at large, the arresting officer and the student have starkly different perspectives. Through intimate footage and extensive interviews with both, a hidden truth is unearthed about what actually happened that day. Throughout the film, select scholars, historians, and experts provide further context to the story, as well as an examination of race, school discipline, and police accountability.

Against the backdrop of a racial reckoning and deep historical roots, one incident illuminates how Black girls, with the support of organizers, are creating a more just future for themselves and our entire education system.

  • Robin DiAngelo, Author, White Fragility
  • Catherine Lhamon, Chair, US Commission on Civil Rights
  • Bobby Donaldson, Professor of History, University of South Carolina
  • Amanda Ripley, Journalist / Author
  • Josh Gupta-Kagan, Professor of Law, University of South Carolina
  • Shawn McDaniels, Master Sergeant, Richland County

Click here for a sample of the 17-page digital discussion guide provided with the film >

FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "We started making this film with the question: What could we learn about society by thoroughly investigating one viral video?

Our mantra was "context". Context meant reporting and exploring all the factors that led up to the incident, from arcane and mysterious laws to personal stories of trauma. Context can encompass centuries and seconds. This approach was especially important in our age of viral videos which might seem like isolated occurrences. Connecting the dots, we reveal a systemic issue.

School policing was rare just 30 years ago. Today, police officers patrol the hallways of over half of American schools with very little vetting or oversight. Many are stationed there in the name of school safety without considering the social, practical, and psychological factors associated with their presence. Students — most often students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ students — are referred to officers for normal adolescent behaviors. Hundreds of thousands of young people are pushed out of schools and into the carceral system through police interaction at school.

This classroom incident becomes a microcosm for America today. We hope the film will provide a new perspective to some viewers and reflect a true lived experience for others. We hope audiences will connect what happened at Spring Valley High School to the new world we want to build together."
On These Grounds
On These Grounds

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