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Stadium mayhem fosters swift action by community leaders

September 17, 2018 09:51 PM

A Rochester city official, police, and leaders of the Rochester Central School District announced a changed approach to security at school events Monday after a violent brawl erupted at a Saturday football game at Marina Auto Stadium.

"Total chaos, man. It was just total chaos," exclaimed Lorenzo Williams, part-time Rochester teacher and full-time high school sports fan, who was at the game between East High School and Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School. 

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He goes on to explain,"I'm sitting here and I hear everybody running. I look around to the side and they're punching, and thumping, and kicking and everybody's running to the area."

"It was disheartening. It really crushed my Saturday and it crushed my Sunday a bit," said Sean Nelms, superintendent of East High School. "I had a sleepless Saturday night and I struggled all day Sunday.  I had to continue to focus on the other 1980-plus individuals who did the right thing, who came for the right reasons."

Rochester Police report that the violence erupted in the bleachers. 

After repeated episodes of fighting, school officials ended the game at halftime. 

The athletes were escorted out of the stadium and the crowds were instructed to leave. But then, more fights continued in neighborhood streets. 

According to police, three suspects were arrested on disorderly conduct charges. 

Police say one victim of a slashing, who showed up at Strong Memorial Hospital, may have been wounded in the melee at the stadium.

"I think a lot of things went wrong. I think students… some students came to the game prepared to fight.  And I think what went wrong is those kids were neither East nor Wilson students, and they chose that venue to convene and to cause disruption."

On Monday, Nelms joined Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester School Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams as well as interim Police Chief Mark Simmons and other education leaders to develop a response to the incident, according to a statement from the city.

"I don't think there was one adult who worked for any school setting that felt comfortable walking away on Saturday without some sort of an action plan," Nelms recalled.

The city statement declared that the assembled leaders had decided "to directly involve the Rochester Police Department in security planning for major sporting and other school events."

The city's release emphasized that "safety and security issues at school functions must always be of the foremost concern for students, players, parents, spectators, faculty and staff."

Credits

Charles Molineaux

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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