School, city, and athletic officials react to large fight at Washington basketball game

NOW: School, city, and athletic officials react to large fight at Washington basketball game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A senior night celebration for the Washington Panthers boys' basketball team during the rivalry matchup game against the Riley Wildcats took a turn at halftime, when multiple, large fights between spectators took over the bleachers and court.

“There were individuals there last evening that came with not good intentions, or their purposes were not to enjoy the basketball game,” says Brandon White, Assistant Superintendent of Academics for the South Bend Community School Corporation. “They chose an opportunity to act in a way that stole valuable memories and experiences from our students.”

White says those involved in the brawl weren’t there with the intentions of enjoying the basketball game, like others were.

“We had amazing community members there that are true advocates and proponents of our athletes, of our schools,” says White.

One of those community members watching from the sidelines was South Bend Common Councilmember Henry Davis Jr., who oversees the district that Washington is a part of.

“It just sort of kept escalating,” says Henry Davis Junior, Common Councilman for the 2nd district.

He says he’s disappointed in the unnecessary violence happening in the city.

 “It was a very good basketball game, and it was ruined because some adults couldn’t quell their tempers,” Davis says. “It doesn’t leave you with a very good feeling about what’s happening here in this city.”

The Indiana High School Athletic Association says those in charge set a good example of how to handle situations like these.

“We do have bylaws, member school bylaws, that schools voluntarily choose to be a member of the association that deal with crowd management,” explains Paul Neidig, Commissioner for the IHSAA. “From a textbook perspective on how this situation was dealt with by the school, I applaud them. There will absolutely be no sanctions or violation of bylaws.”

They say without the quick action from the eight student resource officers, school administration, and the entirety of the South Bend Police Department working to clear the gym and break up the chaos, things could have ended much worse.

“It was an amazing response from both South Bend Community School’s administration as well as the South Bend Police Department and ensuring that once these events occur, how could we take back control very quickly,” says White.

He adds that the school corporation is working closely with the police department as they investigate, to identify the individuals involved and determine some sort of consequence for their actions.

At this time, the schools are figuring out a time to reschedule and resume the second half of competition that was left on the court last night.

Share this article: