County officials discuss aftermath after Gaithersburg high school football brawl

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Montgomery County Public School officials are still considering possible changes after a major fight broke out at a high school football game last week.

Montgomery County Police received a call at 8:23 p.m. to provide additional units for crowd control due to a fight at Gaithersburg High School.

Police said the fight only involved players from Northwest High School and Gaithersburg on the field and no spectators were involved.

In a joint letter, the directors of Gaithersburg and Northwest announced the temporary suspension of both football programs as the investigation continues.

“At the end of the match, a fight broke out between two players, then other players and coaches intervened. Once the incident was resolved, the referees decided to disqualify the two teams, which resulted in a double forfeit of the match .” reads the letter.

FOX 5 heard from parents across the county who are worried and eager to know what changes will happen to keep things safe.

Parents want to know if ticket sales will be limited or if playing hours will be increased.

MCPS had to move playtimes to earlier slots last year due to combat.

MCPS spokesman Chris Cram told FOX 5 that a meeting about the matter was held on Monday.

He said it involved a “cross-functional group of directors, central management and sports staff”.

MCPS is considering all options, but Cram tells FOX 5 “no decision will be made quickly and disregarding what is fair and just, and [it] will add a measure of safety for everyone involved.”

After the scuffle, officials told FOX 5 that an MCPS staff member and a police officer were injured (suffering non-life-threatening injuries) and a third person suffered lacerations.

SKYFOX captured scenes of officers trying to control the crowd and arresting several people.

MCPS said fights on the field did not include those in the stands. After the crowd dispersed, fighting broke out in the parking lot and sidewalk.

Gaithersburg City Police told FOX 5 on Monday:

Following fights Friday night, Gaithersburg officers charged four minors with assault and a 19-year-old Germantown, MD man with second degree assault, mutual fighting, disorderly conduct, dangerous drunkenness and non-compliance with a lawful order. The charges were the result of fights that occurred off the field and as crowds dispersed.

Security at Gaithersburg and Northwestern High Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools will conduct an administrative review regarding students and staff involved in on-field fighting during the game.

The game between the Gaithersburg Trojans and the North West Jaguars was called off early and declared a 14-0 win for the North West.

“I was deeply disappointed when I heard this report and immediately concerned about the safety involved – and particularly disappointed to learn that some of the coaches may also have been involved in the melee,” the Montgomery board chairman said. , Gabe Albornoz, in a virtual meeting on Monday. “As a former MCPS student and a former MCPS student athlete, I know the importance that interscholastic sports have played in my personal development but also in the community building that occurs when sports are at their peak. best. And sadly that night it showcased what the sport can be at its worst.”

MPCS did not respond directly to questions about the coach’s alleged involvement. Sports photographer Jim Keeley has posted a video on his public Instagram account which he says shows a Gaithersburg coach being hit hard from behind.

When asked how it changes the game if coaches are involved, the chairman of the board replied: “I think once the investigation is over, coaches should never be involved. We have to model the behavior by as adults, especially the coaches who have such an important mentoring role in the lives of these young people. And it’s devastating to know that coaches were involved in this particular incident and I hope MCPS takes some strong action against all those involved.

The mayor of Gaithersburg told FOX 5 that he was notified of the matter by Gaithersburg police but had not yet been notified by MCPS as of Monday afternoon.

In response to the incident, MCPS released the following statement, indicating that both schools will temporarily suspend their football programs while police investigate the incident:

“Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) strongly condemns the abhorrent and unacceptable behavior that occurred during last night’s football game – Friday, September 16, 2022 – between Northwest and Gaithersburg at Gaithersburg High School. The District is moving quickly to develop and implement enhanced safety measures at any sporting event and will communicate these to our community in the coming days.As agreed to by MCPS and both schools, all football operations at these two schools will be temporarily suspended , to assist with the ongoing investigation. The District will pursue disciplinary action against anyone involved in this major altercation, while working to unite communities around the importance of maintaining safe and healthy environments. respectful.”

You can read the full statement from the two principals below:

“We, the principals of our two schools, are writing to you today regarding the extremely disturbing events of the football game which was held at Gaithersburg High School last Friday night. Late in the game, a fight broke out between two players , who then moved on to others. After the incident was resolved, the officials decided to disqualify both teams, resulting in a double forfeit from the game. After getting both teams safely out of the stadium, a number of individuals, including a few students, fought in the parking lot, and were later arrested as they refused police orders to disperse, and in some cases got into physical difficulty with the police. dangerous situation and we will work with our partners at central office to quickly develop plans to improve safety and maintain order at future school sporting events. We want to be very clear that together , we strongly condemn this unacceptable behavior that occurred during the football game. This disrespectful and dangerous behavior is not what we model and communicate to our students and should not be tolerated. Fighting and causing physical and emotional harm is by no means an appropriate way to resolve a conflict. We ask everyone involved in or who witnessed this event to reflect on what might have happened if our law enforcement partners, security personnel and school staff had not acted so quickly to defuse this incident. Following a thorough investigation, disciplinary measures will be taken against any person (student or adult) who participated in these actions. As agreed to by MCPS and our respective schools, to assist with ongoing investigations, all football operations at both schools will be temporarily suspended. MCPS athletics programs are designed to support and enhance our students’ academic experience and help build school and community spirit. Each week, the vast majority of our students participate in and attend hundreds of athletic competitions, demonstrating the respect and sportsmanship we expect, as outlined in the MCPS RAISE Core Values. We will reinforce these values ​​with our students at school and ask that you discuss these expectations with your children before they attend a school event. We are in the process of updating our plans to ensure safety at upcoming events and once fully developed we will share these details with our school communities.”

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