Seneca Valley High School principal says fights forced end to Friday’s football game

School leaders in Montgomery County, Maryland, are clarifying what happened to bring a Seneca Valley High School football game to an early end on Friday night.

In a letter to the school community Saturday, Principal Marc Cohen said the school, in consultation with law enforcement, decided to end the game against Northwest High School late in the third quarter after student fights broke out “that created serious and significant interruptions to the safety and security of the event.”

The decision was made even after those involved in the fights were ejected from the game.

Cohen also addressed rumors that a weapon was brandished during one of the fights, saying there is currently “no evidence to support that this happened.”

While one student was taken to the hospital, Cohen said it was because they were injured “attempting to climb over a fence to get into the game,” which school officials later confirmed in discussions with the student and their parents.

Cohen said that what happened Friday was not an isolated incident and that fighting has grown worse at Seneca Valley this year, promising that staff would work with students, parents and the county to come up with a plan to address “the increase in fighting behaviors.”

Among the agencies mentioned in the letter are the Montgomery County Public Schools Department of School Safety and Security, the Department of Student and Family Support and Engagement, the county’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Montgomery County Police Department.

Cohen said Seneca Valley will have additional security, counselors and police at the school when students arrive Monday, closing his letter by saying “a safe and orderly learning environment for each student … remains a top priority.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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