Chief Reports 10 Adults, Six Youth Charged In Fight
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WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley School District and J.Z. George District were each fined $1,500 by the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) for a fight that broke out during a junior varsity girls’ basketball game at the Water Valley High School gym on Nov. 3. The girls’ teams from both schools also received a four-game suspension as part of the sanctions from MHSAA.
Water Valley School District Superintendent Jerry Williams provided an overview about the charges and sanctions during his report in Friday’s school board meeting.
“For leaving the bench, we got fined $500. For entering the fight, we got a $1,000 fine,” Williams told board members. The superintendent also reported the school filed charges on fans from both teams.
The fight erupted early in the game following a dispute on the basketball court. Water Valley Police Chief Jason Mangrum previously reported that it was a wild and chaotic scene. Two city officers, a deputy and Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch were at the game and attempted to separate the fans during the melee. Mangrum also requested all available Water Valley officers and Yalobusha County deputies to respond, as well as Lafayette County deputies. Mangrum explained there were three different fights during the incident that lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Williams reported students and parents who came down to the gym floor during the disturbance were banned from attending future games.
“A couple of them put hands on law enforcement,” the superintendent added about the fans who were prosecuted.
“We have to set a precedent that we are not going to allow anything like this. You are going to be prosecuted,” Board President Jill Clark noted after the superintendent’s report.
“Right,” Williams said.
Mangrum told the Herald that six students will be prosecuted in youth court, five from J.Z. George and one from Water Valley. Additionally 10 adults will be charged for disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or simple assault following a lengthy investigation. One of the fans is from Tupelo, two are from the Water Valley area and seven from the Carrollton area. The chief said additional people could be charged.
“We are still trying to obtain some personal information, a few more people could be charged. In an investigation that has at least 16 suspects, plus several hundred people in the area, it takes time to sort it all out,” Mangrum told the Herald.