Negating the theories

The Journal clarifies the situations that occurred during the Homecoming dance on Saturday, Sept. 17

Seniors+Kaitlyn+Osborn+and+Rachel+Borho+dance+to+Cotton-Eyed+Joe+at+the+homecoming+dance+on+Saturday.+The+two+continued+to+dance+in+the+crowd+for+several+songs.+

Grace Elder

Seniors Kaitlyn Osborn and Rachel Borho dance to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” at the homecoming dance on Saturday. The two continued to dance in the crowd for several songs.

This year over one thousand students attended the homecoming dance on Sept. 17 for a night of dancing and hanging out with friends. However, many were met with an unexpected situation full of panic and uncertainty.

During this year’s homecoming dance, there were two fights in the span of less than one hour. The first altercation occurred on the field during the dance at around 8:30 p.m., and the other took place on the street just outside the southwest exit of the stadium just after dismissal at 9 p.m.

Both during and after the dance, dozens of rumors concerning the fights began circling around the Southport community, the most common being the presence of guns during the dance, but principal Brian Knight confirms that the situation was much less violent than these rumors imply.

“Even in the middle of it, it felt a lot bigger than what it actually was,” Knight said. “Once we watched the video, it was really two kids fighting and a bunch of kids around yelling and screaming.” 

Many students and witnesses have claimed that they heard gunshots or witnessed guns being drawn, when in reality there was no evidence of the presence of firearms at the dance.

“There were 100% no shots fired,” Knight said. “All the kids that were in those (fights) we had detained with the police at some point and there were no weapons on anyone.”

Other popular rumors include the ideas that a student was tased after being handcuffed and that a student was struck by a moving vehicle during the second fight in the street, which are both false according to Knight.

What was evident in many videos of the second altercation was that the students fighting had spilled over the front of a stationary car, but had not been hit by a moving vehicle. Additionally, one student was tased by an officer during the same fight before being reprimanded, which could have been the sound that witnesses heard and assumed was a gunshot.

In addition to the required presence of four officers at the dance, a flood of law enforcement arrived when the scene escalated later in the evening. Knight credits the presence of law enforcement for the deescalation of the situation.

“I think the response from our law enforcement prevented a bad situation from getting really bad,” Knight said.

Not much is known about the students involved in the altercations, seeing as investigations of the incidents are still active. However, it is known that one of the students involved in the first brawl does not attend SHS.

Some students are asking the question: Will the events of this year’s homecoming affect future events? Knight and other school officials are considering creating a required application process in order for students to attend and possibly prom in order to create a safer, more comfortable environment for students.

“If you’re not passing all of your classes and you’re getting in trouble during the day, then you may not be allowed to attend those,” Knight said. “That’s as much to make sure that the students that are doing the things we expect them to do get to have a really good experience at those extra events.”

This idea is due to how the drama of the past few days has affected not only students, but Knight as well. Only a few out of over one thousand students influenced the chaos of the event, and Knight does not wish for that to reflect on the rest of the student body of SHS.

“Where I get frustrated or disheartened is, like I said, a large majority of our students there did everything they were supposed to do and should have been able to have a great evening,” Knight said. “The decisions of a very small handful of students I think put a black mark on that evening for a lot of people and created a scary environment for a lot of students.”