A video going viral today allegedly shows a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina aggressively pulling a student out of her desk and then dragging the student across the classroom.
The video shows the uniformed deputy, identified by the Richland County Sheriff's Department as Ben Fields, grabbing the female student as she sits in her desk, eventually wrestling her out of the seat and to the ground. There is no indication in the video what precipitated the event.
The Richland Two School District Superintendent Debbie Hamm confirmed the incident occurred and said the school administration is cooperating with police on an investigation of what happened.
"Our District is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today," Hamm said in a statement. "The incident took place between a school resource officer employed by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and a student. Video of the incident is circulating on social media.
"Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students," she wrote. "Upon learning of the incident, school and district administrators began an investigation. We are working closely and in full cooperation with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a thorough and complete investigation."
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was "very disturbed" by the video, the Sheriff's Department said in a statement, adding that Fields will be placed on administrative duties.
Here is the full sheriff's department statement:
"Sheriff Leon Lott is out of town attending a Law Enforcement conference -– he did see the video and was very disturbed by it. He has questions like everyone has -– and he wants answers and once he has those answers he will address them. The Sheriff is asking for everyone to be patient as this is being fully investigated.
"The Sheriff and the School District will take the appropriate action necessary once this investigation is complete – All SRO’s are at the schools for the safety of all students – these SRO’s are held to a very high standard. The Sheriff fully understands the seriousness of this incident
"Dep. Ben Fields will be placed on administrative duties."