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Spring Valley Backlash: Students Back Fired Deputy with #BringBackFields School Walkout

Friday, hundreds of students–both black and white–at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina walked out of class in support of Ben Fields, the Richland County sheriff’s deputy shown in a viral video forcefully removing a noncompliant student Monday.

The students also took to social media with photos and video of the protest and the #BringBackFields hashtag was trending on Twitter both on October 30th and on Sunday morning.

The pro-law enforcement protesters were orderly and went back to class after about ten minutes. Spring Valley’s principal issued a statement to parents, saying, “At no time, were any students or staff in any danger. School is carrying on in a safe and productive manner today.”

The mainstream media went all in on their coverage of the dramatic video after Black Lives Matter activists, high-profile civil rights figures like Reverend Jesse Jackson, and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders chimed in before the facts were fully known.

Many commentators on social media accused Fields of being racist, and President Obama’s Department of Justice is investigating the incident.

On Wednesday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced at a press conference that he fired Deputy Ben Fields, although Fields attorney maintains his actions were “justified and lawful.”

On Twitter, Black Lives Matter activists were clearly not pleased with the interracial demonstration supporting Deputy Fields. Some made racist and derogatory remarks.

But a Spring Valley student had a message for the outside agitators:

As this article went to press, the walkout by students had not received nearly the amount national mainstream media coverage that the original video had.

Follow investigative reporter and Citizen Journalism Boot Camp instructor Lee Stranahan on Twitter at @Stranahan.

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