MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools says they aren’t playing when it comes to student safety at basketball games, after a brawl involving hundreds at a Westwood High rivalry game against Fairley High got out of control.
District officials say they mean business, threatening to cancel games in that gym and close off games to the public if they have to before putting crowds in danger again.
Police found themselves jumbled in between 300 to 400 people duking it out as emotions ran high after Friday night’s basketball game between Fairley and Westwood. Four people were cited.
“As soon as the game was over, it just broke out in a fight, everyone started fighting,” said parent Wandera Scott, who witnessed the madness while picking her children up from the game.
Sources tell us the fight started because Fairley lost.
On Wednesday, Shelby County schools put out a statement concerning fights at high school games. In the statement, the district mentions several fights but Memphis police said they are only aware of the fight after Westwood’s win.
“This is certainly not the norm for SCS athletic events, and we are treating these situations very seriously,” said Dr. Angela Whitelaw, chief of schools at SCS.
The district plans to step up security.
“Athletics are a privilege, not a right, and we absolutely will not tolerate the types of actions that occurred over the weekend,” said Gerald Darling, chief of safety and security with SCS.
Scott said there wasn’t much security in the gym last Friday, which meant backup had to be called as the brawl spiraled further out of control.
District officials say that won’t happen in the future.
“If it’s necessary to cancel games or close them off to the public to ensure safety and order, we definitely will do that.”
The district pointed out the role of good sportsmanship in their statement, saying it all starts with the players and how they conduct themselves on the court.