Updated 1:03 p.m. EDT -- A school board member in northeast Richland County, South Carolina, said Tuesday she is "adamant" that a student resource officer who was captured on videothis week arresting a black student at Spring Valley High School will not return to any school within the district. Amelia McKie, secretary of Richland School District Two Board of Trustees, said she does not condone the officer's actions and was "taken aback" by the video.
"I am adamant that the resource officer in question will not return to any Richland Two School," McKie wrote in an email to journalists, which was posted on Twitter. "It is my desire that this never happens in another Richland Two School, or any other school, for that matter. We want our students [to] be safe and feel safe at all times."
She added: "As a Richland Two parent, I, too, was taken aback at the actions of the Resource Officer in the video and am continuing to guide my decisions with both my parent's hat as well as that of a School Board member, advocating for the interests of all 27,000 students in our school district."
The officer, Ben Fields, has been placed on administrative leave without pay and a formal investigation into the incident has been launched.
Just received an important email from the secretary of the school board concerning Officer Ben Fields. Don't let up pic.twitter.com/0gelSDdfcN
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 27, 2015
A second student at Spring Valley High School in northeast Richland County, South Carolina, was apparently taken into custody after her black classmate was arrested Monday by Student Resource Officer Ben Fields. The two pupils were both charged with disturbing schools, but Niya Kenny, who has identified herself as the other student, told Columbia TV station WLTX she was standing up for her peer.
"I know this girl don't got nobody, and I couldn't believe this was happening," Kenny, 18, told the local news station early Tuesday. "I had never seen nothing like that in my life, a man use that much force on a little girl. A big man, like 300 pounds of full muscle. I was like, 'No way, no way.' You can't do nothing like that to a little girl. I'm talking about she's like 5'6"."
Richland School District officials have banned Fields after a video surfaced purporting to show the officer slamming and dragging a black student from her desk. Kenny said her classmate was not participating in math class and the teacher asked her to leave. When the student refused, an administrator was called in and asked her to leave the room. Fields was called in after she refused again.
Kenny told WLTX she filmed part of the incident on her phone. The six-second video shows Fields approaching the student sitting at a desk in a classroom. The officer then grabs her arm while putting his own arm around the girl’s neck.
"I was crying, screaming and crying like a baby," she told the news station early Tuesday. "I was in disbelief."
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Fields was acting in response to the student refusing to leave class. Lott has asked the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department to formally investigate the incident, according to Columbia’s WIS.
"The public wants answers. I want answers too, and we’re going to get them very quickly. And we’re going to make sure the public knows what we’re going to do and why we’re going to do it. There’s nothing that we’re going to hide at the Sheriff’s Department," Lott told the local news station. "His actions reflect on all of us, and I’m about as upset as anybody can be right now."