2021 | Schools

More police, counselors will be at Seneca Valley High to address fighting

Fight caused football game to end early Friday night

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Police, administrators, counselors and other support staff will be at Seneca Valley High School beginning Monday to address an “increase in fighting” this school year — including one that prompted the abrupt cancellation of a football game mid-contest on Friday.

In a letter to the community on Saturday, Principal Marc Cohen addressed an uptick in fights at the Germantown school. He wrote that most students follow school rules, but the “small number of students who are choosing fighting as their best option for addressing conflict, are compromising the safety and security of us all, and that cannot continue.”

According to the letter, a “series of fights” during Friday night’s football game with Northwest High School “created serious and significant interruptions to the safety and security of the event.”

Police responded and “removed” those who were fighting, but the game was ended early, in the third quarter.

Cohen said he has no evidence to support rumors that someone had a weapon during the fights.

School leaders plan to work with students, parents, central office administrators, the police department and the county’s Department of Health and Human Services to create a “comprehensive plan” to address fighting at the school.

Beginning Monday, there will be additional security, counselors, central office staff and police on site to help ensure a “safe and orderly learning environment for each student within our community,” according to Cohen’s letter.

“I am appealing to each of you to speak to your students today and to continue to reinforce that fighting is never the right answer,” Cohen wrote. “If your child needs help developing different strategies or making different choices, please have them contact me, their counselor, or their administrator. We are here to help.”

In the 2019-20 school year, 16 Seneca Valley High School students were suspended for fighting, according to the most recent MCPS data available. Three fights were reported as “serious incidents” and the police were called twice that school year to address fighting.