Two students arrested, parents threatened during homecoming game


Ava Ohana

Police didn’t complete the removal of all 12 students from campus for at least 45 minutes after the officers stationed at the school requested reinforcements, according to police tapes.

By Harper Barnowski

Montgomery County police arrested two students and removed 10 others from Whitman’s campus during Friday’s homecoming football game due to “disruptive,” and “abusive” behavior and verbal threats, Principal Robert Dodd wrote in an email to community members on Saturday afternoon. The 12 involved students attend neither Whitman nor Wootton — the visiting team’s school, according to Dodd.

Police didn’t complete the removal of all 12 students from campus for at least 45 minutes after the officers stationed at the school requested reinforcements, according to police tapes. More than 30 minutes after additional police officers arrived at the school, members of the group also surrounded and harassed two Whitman parents who were in a car near Whitman and on their way to Vikeapalooza.

At 7:57 p.m., a police officer at Whitman asked dispatchers to direct additional units to the school to help remove a group of juveniles that were “refusing” to leave campus, according to police tapes. The officer told incoming units to be on the alert for “a disorderly individual [who] is now in the parking lot,” according to police tapes. 

Senior Leah Linsin was taking photos of the game for the yearbook when she saw police yelling at the students near the bleachers during the second quarter of the game. 

“I heard a lot of yelling and [saw] security yelling at teenagers,” Linsin said. “I knew something was off.”

The incident took place nearly a month after a series of physical altercations involving Gaithersburg and Northwest High School football players, coaches and an athletic specialist led to multiple arrests and the temporary suspension of both teams’ seasons. Following the altercations, MCPS officials announced a set of new safety measures for high school sports games that require spectators from competing schools to display student IDs before entering the stadium and prohibits students from non-competing schools to attend games unless accompanied by an adult chaperone. The school district’s new policies also prohibit entry and re-entry after half-time. 

On Friday at approximately 8:45 p.m., two Whitman parents were driving on Whittier Boulevard towards Whitman when the 12 juveniles surrounded their car and began yelling profanities.

“They started cursing at us and calling us names,” one of the parents said. “It was really aggressive, scary behavior. They were very belligerent. And then finally it felt like forever, but it was maybe a minute we were able to inch forward.” 

At the time of the initial encounter, Montgomery County police were stationed nearly 100 feet away from the parents, but did not intervene, the parent said in an interview.

“We spoke with the officers that were there,” the parent said. “There were probably five or six that were on the sidewalk. We alerted them and they said they knew of the situation.”

At 8:55 p.m., an officer reported that he was transporting a juvenile male to the police station. Any MCPS student involved in the incident will face consequences for the “potential threat of physical harm,” Dodd wrote.

Administrators plan to review all security videos in collaboration with security and police in an attempt to identify the other students involved, Dodd wrote. B-CC and Whitman administrators have also agreed to move Whitman football’s away game on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Dodd wrote in an email on Monday. 

“We are committed to ensuring that all students have access to and experience a safe, positive and respectful learning environment,” Dodd wrote. “The safety and security of students and staff is always of the utmost importance.”