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.

A lot of people on Twitter expressed dismay over what they consider misguided student support for a deputy shown in video flipping a student out of her chair Monday and throwing her across the floor. But Fields had been at the school for seven years and served as an assistant football coach so he knew many students.

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

https://twitter.com/calebpofficial/status/659464164436504576

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

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
Tonii6
Tonii6

Two sides of ths same coin: 1. If the student had complied with the teacher's request regarding the cell phone, the resource officer would never have been called; 2. if either parent had done the same thing to the child, they would be in jail.

RetiredSuper
RetiredSuper

Teachers should be instructed to utilize their own personal cell phone camera to record the incident of an unruly student. This evidence could be used in a tribunal hearing which may result in Crossroads Alternative School placement in serious cases. 


Some parents will deny their child acted as described by the teacher/administrator until you show them proof. I've seen many times the change in a parent's attitude (to support school administration) once they witnessed a bus video or surveillance video of their child involved in an incident.


In this case the teacher while recording the incident, prior to notifing administration, could ask the student to put away her cell phone. If the student did not comply and was not causing other disruptions...the teacher would continue to teach. At the end of class the teacher would text the video evidence over to an administrator with a referral. Provided there is strong administrative support in that school...word will get around to students pretty quickly why teachers were recording them.


People who are not in the schools every day have a very limited understanding of the deterioration in student discipline over the past 30 years. Most schools are comprised of great young people, however a smaller percentage of students (white and black) continue to cause the daily problems that interrupt the learning environment. Communities would be shocked at the money spent by their school system to maintain order (teacher duty, administrators engaged in handling discipline issues, School Resource Officers, administrative detention officers, ISS instructors/support teachers, tribunal hearing cost in salaries, alternative school administrator/teachers and guidance personnel and Board Office-level involvement through assistant superintendent through superintendent. The school has become loco parentis in many cases, because children are not getting taught respect for others at home.

hssped
hssped

@RetiredSuper

Sounds good, but I suspect teachers are not allowed to record students.  I have often thought that webcams in every classroom would solve two problems:  teachers that don't teach and disruptive students. 


Also, a friend just told me that the teacher in the SC story was put on administrative leave.  Has anyone else heard that? 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RetiredSuper 

I disagree.  To have teachers use their cell phones to record student behavior is to place teachers on the same level as students.  Moreover, teachers must be seen by their students to be nurturers of students, not their adversaries, even as they insist upon discipline being enforced in their own classrooms.  Students are bright and sensitive enough to see both nurturing and discipline in teachers.

Since the teacher in South Carolina gave the student a directive to remove the cell phone, and the student did not comply, then the administrator should have handled the situation on the spot. 

Word of mouth - in removing the student from the classroom for insubordination in the manner in which I previously had suggested in which no one would have come to bodily harm - that the administration and the teacher would not tolerate insubordination - will travel faster than cell phone competitions between teachers and students.  Problems must be dealt with when they happen, on the spot, prudently and effectively.

hssped
hssped

My last child is a freshman in college and she complained all through high school about the rude, disruptive kids such as the the girl in the SC story.   She took dual enrollment classes her last two years just to get out of the building and away from the them.   I tell my parents all the time....dual enrollment, AP, whatever you can handle to get away from the disruptive behavior. It really isn't fair to the others in the class.  And no one ever stands up for the others in class that actually want to learn and care about their gpa.  They get the shaft every time. 


I used to want to help the disruptive kids, "save them" if you will. But after 22 years I suppose I've become tired and jaded because now I just don't want to be around them.  I hope the girl is charged with disrupting a public school and I was happy to read that the student body took up for the officer. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

I am not fully aware of everything that happened in this incident, nor, in fact, are the majority of us.  We were not there, but that does not stop people from all walks of life from making snap judgments about the events that took place.  Did the officer over-react?  Well, that seems obvious.  Certainly, he reacted in a way that lead to the injury of the student and it is right that he be held accountable, but there are many unanswered questions here. 


Some people claim the other students do not react in the video because they are "sick and tired of the disruptive behavior in school."  Other claim the other students are "intimidated by the cop and unwilling to speak up for fear of being beaten."  Which of these points of view is correct?  Are either?  Who knows, but the biosphere certainly seems to think they have all the answers.


We were told that this young student's grandmother and mother had recently died - which lead to a lot of conjecture that she was acting out due to recent loss.  Now it turns out she is in foster care, but that both mother and grandmother are alive (according to her lawyer.)  The fact that she has living relatives and is in foster care is a red flag in itself. 


We were told that the cop had been reprimanded before for excessive force, and this lead to speculation that the students live in fear of him.  On the other hand, there was a recent outpouring of support for him among the students, with some choosing to walk out of class in support of him.


We were told he got physical with her for no reason.  We were told he only got physical after she tried to hit him.  We were told she didn't hit him but was only flailing.  We were told he threw her on the floor.  We were told she was being overly dramatic and lost her balance and fell to the floor.


Hundreds of people who were not there making judgment based upon a video and calling for all types of 'actions" which vary, depending upon the commenters particular point of view. 


For me, this incident just undermines the dangers of our growing media saturated populace.  It no longer seems that the media reports the news - it seems more like media MAKES the news and what gets reported depends upon the perceived level of "click bait."  Something hits social media, and everyone is all over it before the full truth ever has a chance to come out.  (And when it comes to issues with students, the full truth is often not available due to laws about minors and the release of any pertinent information.)  This is a dangerous precedent.  A rush to judgement is never a good idea. Consequences based upon limited information is never a good idea.  Allowing emotion to drive decisions is never a good idea. 


This video is troubling, and reveals some very real problems within our educational system - however, those of us who teach have known about these problems for some time, and have been trying to get someone to listen to our concerns for years.  I have been reading all sorts of "solutions" from those outside the classroom, and although well intentioned, many of them are not realistic.  Furthermore, this incident is not just about problems facing our schools.  Schools are a reflection of our society, and what we see in this video, and the public reaction to it from all sides, reflect some disturbing  issues weakening the foundations of our whole society.

Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

So far, I've not read an adequate report on this, anywhere.    Here are just a few questions that I'd like to see answered, for starters:


1)   Who was the "administrator?"


2)  Was there a case worker at the school or near by who might have been called before the "resource officer"  was sent in? (From what I've read the mother of the girl refusing to put away her phone had just died and the girl had been put into foster care.  That's sufficient to make the circumstances here "out of the ordinary.")


3)  What were the instructions given to the "resource officer" before he entered the classroom and who gave them?   (For example: "Get that chick outta there!")


4)   How were the resource officers used at the school?  (As bouncers?  Is what heppened here unusual only in that the person dragged was female?)


5)   Had the girl pulled the same stunt, before?   If yes, what had happened?


6)  What were the roles of the teacher and administrator, who one would think were tasked with administering progressive discipline?   (Why not let her continue to play with here phone, then send her to in-school suspension where she would be  -- horrors! -- deprived of her phone?  That would make clear to the rest of the class that "Defiance hath its consequences.")


What I'm suggesting is that there may be some scapegoating going here, with the lowest guy on the totem pole being the one to be tossed out and the media more interested in tailoring this story to its usual trope of "white cop a) abuses, b) beats up c) shoots at or d) murders black kid."


I would never suggest that slamming a student onto the floor and dragging her out was ever proper, but I would suggest  that reporting the incident in all it's unique detail is more interesting and instructive than what we've gotten -- media apparactchiks sticking to giving us only their usual trope. 

Parents & taxpayers
Parents & taxpayers

It was evident in the original video clip that students were tired of this student's continually selfish and disruptive classroom behavior.

But half the Tweets selected, probably written by adults, brush all that aside.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

One suggestion for the administration:  Have the resource officer slide the desk, with the student in it, outside of the classroom. Close and lock the schoolroom's door until the class period is over.  Suspend the disruptive student from the school for a period of time for insubordination.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

The teacher must have control of her classroom.  The students will test authority because they are adolescents.  If the principal could not, himself, get the student to remove herself from the classroom, then the resource officer was called by the administration to accomplish the job.  The officer did what was asked of him.  The administration needs, now, to develop more refined rules to accomplish the same end of removing a disruptive student who will not leave upon request.


The teacher must have control his classroom.

jaggar1
jaggar1

Students have become out of control and extremely disruptive in school. They cuss at teachers, talk while the teachers are talking, get up and walk around, and are generally rude at Title I schools and inner city schools. It gets to the point that you just can't take it. This girl in the video was being extremely disruptive and when the officer asked her to get up, several times, she refused. He asked her again and when he touched her, she punched him. She was the aggressor and totally disrupting everyone's learning. She baited him when her friends openly told everyone to take out their phones and record. They didn't record the part where the teacher and administrator were there. I hate that he will lose his job, but we are losing teachers left and right because of students behavior. 

CSpinks
CSpinks

We folks interested in our kids' futures must use this troubling incident at Spring Valley High in Columbia as an opportunity to inform The Public about what goes on in too many of our public schools and how the frequency, intensity and duration of such disruptions undermine the quality of the educational opportunities we provide our kids and retard our kids' academic achievement.

marc56
marc56

But isn't it disrupting class to walk out of it? A crime in South Carolina..no?

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

I don't know the resource officer, but apparently some of the students liked and respected him.


I do know that the students who want to learn don't like the students who won't obey the rules, and who disrupt learning for the others, especially if there are are few or no consequences.

frogg
frogg

@Astropig   The other students kept quiet b/c the one student that did not got arrested as well. Fear is a powerful motivator. The school to prison pipeline is real. 



Astropig
Astropig

@ScienceTeacher671


It's interesting and encouraging to me that these engaged students -whether I agree or disagree with their opinion- are motivated enough to make their voices heard.I am really glad to see them do something besides get tattoos or text semi-nude pictures of themselves.


This is astonishing considering that the students in the classroom showed almost no reaction that I could see.

Belinda51
Belinda51

It's a home to prison pipeline, not the school.