Students Stage Walkout In Support Of Deputy Fired Over Viral Video
Hundreds of students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. staged a brief walkout on Friday in support of the school resource officer and football coach who was fired earlier this week after video emerged of him dragging a female student out of her desk and slamming her onto the ground.
The students donned t-shirts reading “Free Fields” and “#BringBackFields” in support of the officer, Ben Fields.
Fields was fired Wednesday after a video emerged showing him yanking a 16-year-old black student out of her desk and forcing her to the ground.
The video touched off a nationwide debate over the use of force by officers in schools and over the possible racial dynamics at play. Fields is white.
In announcing Fields’ firing, Richland County sheriff Leon Lott said that while Fields’ actions were “not typical of the job I expect them to do” the student shouldered some responsibility for disrupting the class.
Fields was called to the classroom by a teacher and administrator after the student refused to put away her cell phone. A video that emerged after the first viral video was released also showed the student swinging at Fields as he tried to remove her from her desk.
While Lott said that the student only suffered rug burn during the incident, her attorney claims that she has a broken arm.
But while the nation turned on Fields, students appear to be in his corner.
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) October 30, 2015
During the walkout, a school administrator was filmed speaking to a group of students, assuring them that they would not be suspended for the action but asking them to return to class.
“We’ve heard your voices, okay,” the administrator said. “We appreciate you taking time to do this, but again, as you know, we always focus on teaching and learning, so let’s head on back to class.”
— Claudia (@LilCee_MEDIC) October 29, 2015