Spring Valley High School Students Stage Walkout In Support Of Ben Fields

Spring Valley High School students stage a walkout to show support for fired deputy Ben Fields. Approximately 100 students walked out of class at the South Carolina school on Friday. The South Carolina teenagers called for the return of the school resource officer after he was fired for a physical altercation with a female student.

The Spring Valley High School student walkout in support of Deputy Ben Fields began around 10 a.m. in the atrium of the Columbia pubic school. Students in the crowd, both black and white, were pictured wearing “Free Fields” or “#BringBackFields” written on their T-shirts.

Some of the students reportedly intended for the walkout to include a march leading out of the building, but instead the student supporters of Fields left class and assembled together in the atrium for a rally, WLTX-TV reports.

Spring Valley High Principal Jeff Temoney authored a letter to parents to inform them that the students complied with staff and returned to class about 10 minutes after the walkout began. The South Carolina students reportedly returned to their rooms and continued on with class in both a “safe and productive manner.”

 ben fields student walkout
South Carolina Deputy Ben Fields. Spring Valley High School students staged walkout in support of the school resource officer on Friday.

“I addressed the students to let them know that we understood their need to make their voices heard,” Temoney said in the note to parents. “Then I reminded them that Spring Valley High is all about the business of teaching and learning, so it’s time to go back to class.”

School officials told local WCSC-TV that the walkout in support of Deputy Fields was “orderly.”

Deputy Fields was fired from the Richland County law enforcement agency by Sheriff Leon Lott on Wednesday. Lott told the media that the deputy did not follow department protocol when forcibly removing the student from the desk.

A video of the interaction between Fields and the student went viral. The entire incident began when the black female teen refused to give the teacher the cell phone she was playing with at her desk. After the teacher could not maintain discipline in the classroom, the principal was called to the classroom for help. The Spring Valley High School principal also could not make the student show respect to the adults in authority at the school and follow the rules by turning over the cell phone. The police officer was then called in to enforce basic school rules after the educators had failed to do so.

Sheriff Lott did admit that Deputy Fields had the right to put his hands on the student in this particular situation but said that he should not have thrown the teenager across the room. Fields’ supporters who have watched the video frequently maintain that the struggling and fighting young woman prompted the dragging of several feet which occurred.

The Department of Justice had now launched a civil rights investigation into the incident at Spring Valley High School. Although there is no evidence of racism in the deputy’s background or language he used during the altercation, the federal agency was still alerted to the situation.

Ben Field’s attorney, Scott Hayes, thanked members of the community and the country for their support of the deputy on Friday.

“The positive response and heartfelt support of Ben has been overwhelming,” Hayes said. “We believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident. To that extent, we believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were carried out professionally and that he was performing his job duties within the legal threshold.”

Deputy Ben Fields was a deputy for 10 years and also served as the Spring Valley High School football team’s assistant coach.

What do you think about the actions and firing of Deputy Fields?

[Image via Richland County Sheriff’s Office and Shutterstock.com]

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