Friday night plights: High school football games disrupted by shootings and gun threats

On what was anticipated to be a weekend of celebration and excitement, one school was forced to cancel its homecoming events after shots were fired during a game, injuring two individuals.

In what is becoming, unfortunately, an increasingly common trend among high schools across the country, several football games were disrupted this past weekend by gun violence or threats breaking out during the events.

At Richfield High School in Minnesota, gunshots were fired just outside the football stadium injuring two people during the school’s homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 23. According to police, two individuals have been taken into custody. One of the individuals is a 15-year-old student at Richfield. The other is a 16-year-old former Richfield student who was accused of “instigating” the altercation.

The two victims are 18 and 21 years old and are currently recovering in their homes in good condition, police said.

The gunshots were captured during a live stream of the game. Players can be seen fleeing the field as they heard the shots go off.

The school’s principal, Stacy Thein-Collins, canceled the homecoming dance to give students time to recover.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to you tonight,” she said in a Facebook post. “I am heartbroken by the violence that broke out at the homecoming game, which has deeply impacted our entire community. What was supposed to be a weekend of celebration and school pride is now a time when we must come together in support and solidarity.”

“To help ensure student safety and to allow us all a little room to breathe, reflect and heal, we have made the decision to cancel all weekend activities, including boys’ and girls’ soccer and the homecoming dance.”

A similar incident occurred In Auburn Hills, Michigan earlier this month. An individual was arrested for bringing a gun to the Avondale vs. Holly High School football game. A police officer working the game noticed three individuals heading toward the main entrance gate of the stadium until they spotted the officer and quickly made their way behind a building.

Upon investigation, the officer uncovered a loaded 9mm pistol under some bricks in a bag. However, after reviewing video surveillance from the game, it was determined the three individuals were not responsible for the firearm. The individual taken into custody was a 17-year-old from Pontiac, Michigan, who neither attends Avondale nor Holly High School, according to police.

A school dance scheduled to take place after the game was canceled following the threat.

“We are thankful for the diligence of our police officers and staff at Avondale High School in coordinating a proper response to this incident,” Auburn Hills police said in a statement. “There is zero tolerance for anyone who chooses to bring a firearm to our schools illegally.”

Richfield was not the only school to experience gun threats last weekend. Police in Dallas, Texas, responded to an incident during a Richardson ISD football game on Friday. Officers were informed that a gun was passed through a fence at the stadium. As they escorted the individual in question out of the stadium, a gun fell out of his pants.

In West Philadelphia, gunshots were heard after the West Philadelphia and Lincoln High School football game. Police reported that five gun shell casings were found outside the field, but no injuries were reported.

As gun threats continue to disrupt sporting events at high schools across the country, one school safety expert recently told District Administration that schools should be taking extra steps to ensure student safety.

“School leaders need to develop athletic even security and emergency preparedness plans that go beyond simply hiring a few off-duty police officers to work the game,” said Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services. “Planning with opposing team athletic directors, detailed plans for security, police and school staff supervision, ticketing and in-out rules, communications capabilities, coordination with local law enforcement, and other measures can reduce these safety risks.”

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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