Fallout continues after viral video clips surfaced last week showing a police officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. yanking a female student from her desk in a public high school math classroom.
The very raw Oct. 23 footage, which has touched off a racially-tinged nationwide debate over the use of force by police officers in schools, shows officer Ben Fields violently jerking the girl out of her combination desk and chair and forcing her to the ground. Fields, who reportedly weighs 300 pounds, then drags the girl along the floor to the front of the room. (VIDEO: School Cop SLAMS Girl To The Floor IN HER DESK, Drags Her Across Room)
Fields is white. The girl is black.
School officials have allowed both the unidentified 16-year-old girl and a second student who filmed the incident to return to school, area NBC affiliate WYFF-TV reported on Saturday.
Robert Long, the teacher who was teaching in the class when the incident occurred, remains on paid leave.
Long is 62 years old and has taught math at Spring Valley High since 1999.
A substitute teacher is teaching indefinitely in Long’s place, Richland School District 2 spokeswoman Libby Roof said.
The incident occurred because the girl broke a school rule by briefly checking her mobile phone in class. When Long asked her to give him the phone, she refused to relinquish it. Long then called in assistance from Spring Valley High administrators who in turn called in Fields.
One contingent of students at the South Carolina school has criticized Long for allowing an in-class dispute over a mobile phone to escalate into the violent altercation.