South Carolina students rallied on Friday in a peaceful walkout to give their support for the deputy who was fired for excessive force while attempting to remove a disruptive student. School officer Ben Fields was called upon to remove a student who was disrupting her class and refused to leave at the request of her teacher and a school administrator. A video that showed Fields grabbing the student and jerking her out of her chair and dragging her across the room went viral and many were outraged and applauded the firing of the deputy.
What they did not see however was what happened before that video. After refusing to put her cell phone away, the student was asked by the teacher and a school administrator to leave and she refused. After the student refused to leave, Fields was brought in and he asked her to get up and she refused again. He then tried to forcibly remove her from her seat when she started striking him. Another video with a different angle the female student possibly elbowing the deputy and then striking his head with her hand.
The students of the high school thought it was wrong that Fields was fired and showed their support on Friday by rallying to his defense. Around 100 students of different races calmly walked out of their classes and held a rally in the atrium of the school to voice their opinions about the deputy being fired. Principal Jeff Temoney sent parents a letter explaining what had happened at the rally.
“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,” Temoney said in the letter.
“Students returned to class in an orderly fashion. Students were back in class in less than 10 minutes.”
Temoney also said that none of the students that participated in the rally would be suspended.
A black student who attended the rally was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune and said he believed that Fields used excessive force, but that because the female student refused to leave that she also was to blame for the incident. The student also said that Fields was a good cop and inspired a lot of students to stay out of trouble. This statement is contradictory to statements earlier by the teen who filmed the viral video. That student said he “feared for his life” during the incident and that he knew when Fields came in that something would happen. Another female student was arrested by Fields also because she was trying to defend the arrested student. She was interviewed later and stated that Fields was known as “Officer Slam.”
Deputy Fields had been charged with excessive force before when he beat a military veteran. Fields was later cleared of those charges. Fields was put on unpaid leave after the initial video of him slamming the teen girl was released, and was then subsequently fired. The FBI was called in to investigate the incident also. NBC News reported that Sheriff Lott fired Fields because he violated policy when he threw the teen across the floor, but that the incident could have been avoided if the girl has complied with authority in the first place.
What do you think about the students rally for support of the fired deputy? Do you think that Fields should get his job back? Do you think the girl was to blame for the incident? Do you think the girl was in her right to refuse to leave the class when asked to do so? Please share your comments and opinions below.
[Image Via YouTube]