The Slatest

What We Know About South Carolina’s Spring Valley High School

Spring Valley HS in a Google Street View shot.

Screenshot/Google Street View

The New York Times has a dispatch from the ground Tuesday at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina, the site of a controversial videotaped incident Monday in which a sheriff’s deputy/school “resource officer” violently arrested a female student who’d refused to leave her seat after being disciplined for using a cellphone. The Times describes Spring Valley as a “vast tan complex set near a few big-box stores in a sprawling maze of suburban-style housing” and notes in another piece that the school of some 2,000 students “is about 52 percent black and 30 percent white.” Here’s what else we know about the school from online data:


  • In the 2012–13 school year, which is the most recent year for which I could find data, 28 percent of Spring Valley’s students were eligible for free lunch (which means their families’ incomes were less than 1.3 times the federal poverty level) and 7 percent were eligible for reduced price lunch (between 1.3 times and 1.85 times the federal poverty level). In South Carolina as a whole, 52 percent of students are eligible for free lunch and 6 percent for reduced-price lunch.
  • In 2014, 28 percent of Spring Valley HS students were enrolled in AP classes as compared with the South Carolina high school median of 15 percent. (The percentage of Spring Valley students in AP classes who passed an AP exam was 77.5 as compared with the South Carolina high school median of 52.8 percent.)
  • In 2014, 3.3 percent of Spring Valley students served out-of-school suspensions or were expelled for “violent and/or criminal offenses” as compared with the South Carolina high school median of 1.1 percent.
  • The median household income in Richland County, where the school is located, is $45,643 as compared with $44,770 in South Carolina as a whole.
  • The school’s average composite ACT score in 2013–14 was 22.2 versus the national average of 21.0.
  • Nine of South Carolina’s 201 National Merit Semifinalists attend Spring Valley HS.

In other words: Spring Valley is a school with a number of high-achieving students and a significant, though below-average, number of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.