Hundreds of students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, staged a walkout on Oct. 30 to support former Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields who was filmed dragging a female African-American student in class (video below).
Some of the students chanted, "Free Fields," wore T-shirts with the same message and "#BringBackFields," reports Live 5 News.
"Nobody is going to be suspended, so don't worry about that part," Principal Jeff Temoney told the students. "We've heard your voices, okay? 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."
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott fired Fields on Oct. 28 following nationwide outrage over cell phone videos of the incident, reports Reuters.
Some students have called Fields "Officer Slam" for his tactics, while civil rights leaders have called for Fields to be charged with a crime; the FBI and Justice Department have opened a civil rights probe.
However, Fields' lawyer Scott J. Hayes said in a statement: "We believe that Mr. Fields' actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident."
Temoney released a statement on Oct. 30 regarding the walkout: "At no time, were any students or staff in any danger. School is carrying on in a safe and productive manner today," according to Live 5 News.