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South Carolina high school students rally for fired deputy who threw classmate across floor

Fired Richland County Deputy Ben Fields had fans among the students at Spring Valley High School, and today they showed their support for him with a rally.

Students walked out of classes at the Columbia, S.C., high school in support of their former school resource officer, gathering for about 10 minutes before returning to classrooms. Media were not allowed in the school so reporters are relying on Twitter to show the scene.

According to the Columbia State newspaper:  (The State has the most complete coverage.)

About 100 racially diverse students gathered in the school’s atrium to express opinions about Fields’ firing, which followed videos of the incident surfacing online and the sheriff’s condemnation of the deputy’s actions.

The protest was “an orderly student-led activity” that started around 10 a.m., said Spring Valley Principal Jeff Temoney.

For some Spring Valley High School seniors on break for lunch, the incident has led to more personal questions as they expressed concern for the former deputy they called “Coach Fields” and their fellow student. DeJuan Lino said he wanted to show support for Fields, hopeful the fired deputy would be able to get another job soon.

Amarious Motley said he “didn’t think (Fields) needed to use that excessive force,” but he and his friends also said the student should have obeyed the deputy’s order.

Here are some of the student tweets about the walkout and rally:

And here are some of Twitter comments surprised at the student walkout for Fields:

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.