WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is implementing new guidelines for athletic events after multiple people were taken to the hospital when pepper spray was used to stop a fight at a high school basketball game.
Several teenagers face charges after at least three people were taken to the hospital when pepper spray was used at a Carver High School basketball game, as they faced off against Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy last Wednesday.
The spray was used after a dispute between the teams’ cheerleaders during a late timeout. The five officers who were working the game intervened and used the spray, police say.
At least three people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after the fight stopped.
On Tuesday, the school system announced that the cheer teams at both schools will not perform at any athletic events for the remainder of the season.
“We want to send a clear message that any type of behavior like this will not be tolerated at any of these events,” said Brent Campbell, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Chief Communications Officer.
At least five students have been charged with disorderly conduct by fighting. In addition, police say three juveniles will have petitions sought for the same charge, but their identities are not being released.
The school system released a statement on Tuesday, saying new guidelines will be implemented at games. The statement reads, in part:
Effective immediately, at all WS/FCS middle and high schools, additional guidelines are being implemented during athletic events. Those guidelines include:
Alumni, parents, spectators, etc. will not be allowed on the court or field of play without prior approval of administration.
Cheer teams will not be allowed to approach the other team’s sideline or space.
Cheers/chants should only promote positive reinforcement of individual athletic teams and should be reflective of WS/FCS core values.
Moving forward, the district will also:
Form a committee comprised of principals, athletic directors and senior level administrators to thoroughly survey all crowd control procedures including things like spectator entrance, spectator access to the court, where teams sit, including cheer teams and how to most effectively use crowd managers at events.
Form a second committee that will also include principals, athletic directors, administrators and cheerleading coaches to compile and provide clear district guidelines and expectations for sportsmanship and athlete safety. This includes where these teams may sit and perform during the games, general performance safety guidelines, as well as expectations for what happens when these teams don’t follow the guidelines.