Hundreds of students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, black and white, staged a walkout on Friday in support of school resource officer Ben Fields, the deputy who was fired after being caught on video flipping a student out of her desk.
Principal Jeff Temoney confronted students after they convened in the school’s atrium and told them their voices were heard no one would be “suspended,” but they needed to return to class.
“We’ve heard your voices, OK? 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,” he said.
Spring Valley Principal Jeff Temoney said that the protest was “an orderly student-led activity.”
“Our students and our staff were safe and are on campus,” Temoney said.
Temoney said at around 10 a.m. about 100 students gathered in the school’s atrium to express opinions about Fields’ firing in relation to the video.
“I addressed the students to let them know that we understood their need to make their voices heard,” Temoney said. “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.”
Students then returned to class in an orderly fashion less than 10 minutes after the protest began, Temoney said.
Several videos of the walk out surfaced on Twitter shortly following the protest using “#bringbackfields” and “#bringfieldsback.”
Some students were reportedly wearing T-shirts with “#BringBackFields” printed on them, others were heard shouting “Free Fields.”
A student-recorded video of Fields aggressively arresting a female student quickly went viral, with many people claiming the officer used excessive force.
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