Montgomery adds rules for school sporting events after football fight

Montgomery County Public Schools announced more stringent safety protocols around athletic events Wednesday following a brawl that erupted at a football game last week.

Under the new rules, students and spectators will be required to remain in the stands during games. The rules also prevent anyone from being admitted after halftime.

Students will also have to show a student ID or a copy of their school schedule to prove they are enrolled at one of the competing schools. Students who do not attend one of the two schools playing will have to be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

The new rules take effect Friday.

Some individual schools already added extra security measures for sports events, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hull said Wednesday during a news conference. But a districtwide plan was created after a large fight at a football game between Northwest and Gaithersburg high schools Friday led to four juveniles and a 19-year-old man being charged with assault, Hull said.

The safety protocols will be in place through the rest of the football season, but they could be extended into other athletic seasons — such as basketball — depending on the outcome.

Schools Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight said the guidelines were created after meeting with principals, students, staff, athletics, security and police. The school system is continuing to investigate what led to the altercation at the game Friday, McKnight said.

Gaithersburg High School Athletic Director William Gant filed an assault complaint against Northwest Coach Travis Hawkins after the brawl last week. McKnight declined to comment on Gant’s or Hawkins’ employment status or whether they’d been disciplined, saying that it was a personnel issue.

“While the most recent situation brought us together today, we have and will continue to monitor the safety at all of our school events,” McKnight said.

Dan Morse contributed to this report.

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