The US justice department is looking into why a female pupil in South Carolina was pulled from her desk by an officer and dragged across a classroom.

Spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the investigation will look into “the circumstances surrounding the arrest” to see if a federal law was broken.

According to the BBC, the incident occurred at Spring Valley High School in Columbia when the unnamed pupil refused to leave class. Video shows the officer knocking her down and pulling her across the floor.

The officer, Ben Fields, has been placed on leave and there has been an outcry from various civil rights and parents’ groups.

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