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South Carolina students protest firing of school resource officer

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Students at a South Carolina High school walked out of classes for 10 minutes Friday to protest the firing of a school resource officer who was caught on video roughing up a student in a classroom.

About 100 students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia gathered in the school atrium around 10 a.m., principal Jeff Temoney told parents in a letter.

“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.”

Senior John Cassibry said, “People were protesting that [school resource officer Ben Fields] was being unfairly accused.”

Cassibry, who estimated 150 students participated, said the principal “told us he appreciates us for voicing of our opinion and none of us would be suspended.”

The videos, shot by Spring Valley students on Monday, showed Fields yanking a 16-year-old student out of her desk and slamming her to the floor.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who fired Fields, said the student had refused orders from a teacher and an administrator to leave the classroom.

The student faces a charge of disturbing schools and was released to her parents after the incident.