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South Carolina students stage walkout to support fired deputy

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A group of South Carolina high school students staged a brief walkout Friday in support of their school's former resource officer, Ben Fields, who was fired Wednesday for flipping a student and her desk backward onto a floor, and tossing her several feet across a classroom, reports CBS affiliate WCSC.

A video from the walkout shows dozens of students who left class at around 10 a.m. being asked by Principal Jeff Temoney to return to class.

"We've heard your voices," Temoney can be heard saying. "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."

Temoney released a statement from the school several hours later and said the students and staff were safe during the protest.

"At no time, were any students or staff in any danger. School is carrying on in a safe and productive manner today," Temoney said.

Videos of the Monday incident, involving Senior Deputy Ben Fields and a girl who was later charged with disturbing schools, quickly spread on social media, setting off a national outcry that led to Fields' firing.

Fields' "use of force was unacceptable" and he "did not follow proper training, proper procedure" when he "threw her across the classroom," Sheriff Leon Lott said Wednesday, in announcing Fields' dismissal.

An attorney for Fields defended the deputy in a statement released Wednesday.

"We believe that Mr. Fields' actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident," he said.

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