South Carolina deputy fired for actions in viral school video. Right call?

The South Carolina sheriff’s deputy caught on video throwing a disruptive student across the floor was fired today.

After seven years at Spring Valley High as a school resource officer, Deputy Ben Fields lost his job this morning for actions 48 hours earlier in a classroom at the Columbia, S.C., campus.

Despite support for Fields from the teacher and administrator involved in the incident, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a noon press conference he had to fire Fields because the deputy violated policy.

“They didn’t have a problem with it. But I had a problem with it,” said Lott. “When he threw her across that room that is what I made my decision on. It wasn’t a hard decision. It was a decision that was evident, that I needed to make.”

Lott said the termination was based on Fields’ violation of department policy. Whether the officer faces criminal charges could be decided by the federal civil rights inquiry now underway, he said. Deputy Fields is white, and the student is African-American. 

The sheriff said Fields had support from many parents and students at the school, where he served as a football coach. But Lott said an internal affairs investigation found Fields did not follow departmental policy and training. “The officer did not use the techniques taught to remove a student,” he said.

Lott said it’s important to remember the sophomore started the incident by failing to obey her algebra teacher. Lott said the teen refused to stop texting on her cellphone and pay attention, and then ignored the male teacher’s order to leave and go to the office.

“He was trying to teach,” said Lott. “That’s his job. She was preventing that from happening. She wasn’t following instruction. She was disrupting the class and preventing students from learning. It doesn’t justify the officer’s actions, but she has to be held accountable for what she did.”

(See Life with Gracie’s take on firing.)

Lott raised a point that is worth discussing here: Should the teacher and administrator have called on a deputy to deal with a student who wouldn’t stop texting in class and put away her phone?

“When they call us, we are going to take a law enforcement action,” said the sheriff. “Should he have been called there? Maybe, this should have been handled by the teacher and administrator.”

Lott urged parents to use the video as a learning moment with their own kids, saying he did so with his seventh grade daughter. “Talk to your kids that sometimes young people make bad decisions and they should be held accountable. And police officers make mistakes, too, and they need to be held accountable.”

Here again is the video that started this controversy:



Reader Comments 0

640 comments
George Vreeland Hill
George Vreeland Hill

Right call, but the girl should be expelled from school because of her behavior and arrested for assault on a police office. 

They only got it half right. 


George Vreeland Hill

JustSomeThoughts
JustSomeThoughts

Enough of this story because anyone in their right mind knows that the cop was justifiably fired for mishandling the student.  I want to comment on the idiot that tried to jump on a freight train and then lied and blamed his injuries on getting jumped and robbed by homeless men (well...black thugs according to AJC blog posters).  Why can't we comment on the endless sympathy articles you ran about this fool?

SAAN
SAAN

To remove someone from a desk, YOU PULL THEM OUT TO THE SIDE, NOT SLAM THEM ON THEIR BACK!!!

IF you refuse to get out of your car, a cop pulls you out the door, not flips the car on its side to get you out.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

@SAAN yet, if your southern white trash they do also..

BLowE12
BLowE12

@SAAN Well, from the tape that is exactly what it appears the officer tried to do, before the student held on to the desk.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

@SAAN yet, if you produce some krispy cremes at the time of the pull over, you'll be offered to be his best man at his next wedding...

SAAN
SAAN

If she got in trouble for having her cellphone out, why did none of the kids who were filming not get in trouble for having theirs out too, if this girl knows she was being filmed????

Im not sure if the officer purposely tried to slam her or he tried to pull her out the desk and it accidentally tipped over by mistake .  But the more you look at the video, it looks like her was trying to grab her leg upwards out the desk which is what led to him slamming her.



96JB
96JB

Cop WAS HIT first. No, I DON'T agree with how the officer handled it.......But, if he's fired, I would file assualt charges to the young lady.

badbishop23
badbishop23

@96JB Hence..that is why we have so many frivolous law suits.  He was fired for not following internal Department procedures.  If he was smart, he should informed the principal that this was not a criminal matter and he should not have interfered. No law was being broken. Even if he chose to get involved he should have handled it better.  If the child suffered injuries this won't even go to court because he is awaiting trail for another excessive violence claim.  In the end, the taxpayers loose in this one.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

These type articles really show you what the "decent white folk" in Georgia are really about doesn't it?

badbishop23
badbishop23

@DrProudBlackMan It is pretty sad when you think about it.  Some "friendly" folks will go out of their way to appear friendly but in the back of their mind they calling you n***** all the time.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@tinala


I prefer the term bigoted saltine and yes you are one based off of your comments. No need to talk behind your back.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Does anyone know the ACTUAL policy on how to deal with this situation.....I don't....

JustSomeThoughts
JustSomeThoughts

@TrueFan1 You can use your common sense or you can google it.  Actually, use your common sense and google it.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@TrueFan1  Here you go:


1. Have the students quietly exit the class.

2. Attempt to contact the child's parents if she doesn't want to leave.

3. Have a female staff member talk to her too find out what is the REAL problem.


The resource officer NEVER should have been called, they are in school to safeguard children not enforce discipline. That principal AND BLACK MALE TEACHER who couldn't resolve this situation need to find work elsewhere. Sad to say but these are the type of educators who you see all too often in minority majority schools. I hope this answers your question.

bu2
bu2

@JustSomeThoughts @TrueFan1

Wow.  Every single school district has their policy out their publically.  Amazing.


And you can believe everything posted on the internet.

badbishop23
badbishop23

@TrueFan1 Last night, I talked about this with my brother-in-law is an on-site police officer in NJ.  First you "remove" the audience meaning you excuse the kids to the hallway.  This is done to deescalate the situation with the child and to protect the officer from being jumped if other students choose to interfere.  Also, children tend to back down in these situations if there is not an audience.  If the student doesn't comply, he has the right to force her to comply.  Ironically, if the cop followed this procedure, there would not have been an audience to record him using force.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@TrueFan1 


"getto girl"


Its spelled ghetto. I can see that G.E.D. study guide isn't helping you one bit Jethro. Has anyone noticed that when a Black person gives a reasonable response to a question here at Get Schooled the bigoted saltines ALWAYS try to say that the poster isn't white?

BLowE12
BLowE12

@JustSomeThoughts I am wanting to understand, So...  What is YOUR "Common Sense" answer to this very issue???

palepadre
palepadre

There was a time when students respected teachers. They didn't blame them for bad grades. They didn't connect the criminals with the teachers, regardless of skin color. I would never have "Sassed" a teacher. Why was that ? I had two parents and felt worthwhile, we were like all the other families.  Anger at the changes in their bodies, due to growing older. (Especially Girls) and coming from  one parent family, possibly with brothers and sisters, vying for MOM'S attention creates anger, that escalates into rage. Here is the protocol I think should be initiated in ALL grades K-12. Disruptive student, with no likelihood of resolving the situation. Remove all other students to Gym or Cafeteria. Two adults, (Male and Female) stay with student. PARENT is called. Parent takes student home, and is told to find another school, or home school.

ChicagoBJ
ChicagoBJ

It's good to have two parents raising kids. But many single parents produce great kids too. Professional working parents who travel frequently are absent. While it is desirable to have two parents in a home let's not make single parents subpar

tranqillo
tranqillo

Google phillip bernard scott, sandy springs, convicted felon, arrested twice in a year for dope and a gun and he is still walking around a free man and he is probably still selling dope.

Savdon
Savdon

It was a whole lot easier when all a teacher had to do was send for the gym coach to handle the malcontents. 

bu2
bu2

@Savdon

NOBODY wanted to get that paddle with the holes drilled in it.

Savdon
Savdon

@bu2 @Savdon I attended a City of ATL high school from the late 60's to early 70's.  No whacking back then with a paddle.  But, if a certain coach walked in the classroom door you had better hope he wasn't coming for you. It was bad enough if ANY of the coaches came looking for you, but that one guy, uh uh.  I'm certain he must have been a Marine Corps Drill Instructor at some point before coaching.  If he wasn't he should have been.

ChicagoBJ
ChicagoBJ

When I mentioned Dennis Hastert I get responses"I am off the subject". I know the subject. Explain why there was not ONE blog on Hastert but over 500 on this story? This same year a young white boy was handcuffed in school, does anyone remember? Was anyone saying that white boy got what he deserved for DISRUPTING the class? I thought it was over the top and race was not a factor for me. I am child of God and one day we will all die and go to heaven or hell

badbishop23
badbishop23

@ChicagoBJ The answer is quite simple.  Some people in this world look at skin color more deeply than what it is.. It is literally only skin deep.  They can't see past the fact that this is a case of a defiant teenager and an adult who responded excessively.  They see an animal who is already on a path to self destruction without knowing anything about her besides skin color.  We don't her background, her previous behavior. nothing.  All we know is a one minute clip and her life is doomed.  Some people are quick to judge but take little time to accept things or people at face value.

kavn
kavn

@ChicagoBJ I already explained to you about why they posts on Hastert were lacking..I guess I did not get through...The MSM and AJC pushes the subjects, and this one is front and center today as well as yesterday.It is simple..Are there any posts on here about the Black Cop that was murdered and that thousands attended his funeral, no, because it is not being pushed.This story is pushing the anger with people, cop vs people......None of us knows what was behind the child's anger..I don't know about her life being doomed, but it sure seems like the cops is. In Atlanta today, there is another story about a resource officer being engaged with another kid who taunted him and attacked him, did not look much different than this, but the kid is in detention and the officer is in the hospital; and how about the 62 year old teacher attacked and thrown to the ground also in the news today? Do we really know what is going on in the schools, and what the educators and resource people go through? All we seem to get is when a cop is fired for excessive force.

ChicagoBJ
ChicagoBJ

I said my comment applied to the bigots. I'm far from an idiot and I know this is s education blog

badbishop23
badbishop23

@scottw_ You are truly an idiot.  I hope you are a child with that post.  If not, I feel sorry for your family....

badbishop23
badbishop23

People are totally missing the point here!  The cop was not fired for "flipping" her out of the chair here as many people want to suggest.  That move was legal even though it was extremely physical.  He was fired for the subsequent toss and drag move on the floor.  That was considered the excessive part of the encounter.  The police officer had a right to make her comply with his demands but after he got her out of the chair, there was no need for the toss across the floor.  Sheesh.

popcornular
popcornular

I've said it before. These things always seem to happen in a math class, where the sub 100 IQ bunch may as well be listening to Chinese. It must be very frustrating. 

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@popcornular 


I've said it before. You are nothing but a dog whistling bigoted saltine who without the anonymity of the net is probably quiet as a mouse.