According to Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty, a stabbing took place on Friday, Sept. 19 between two students at the end of the Jefferson-Musselman football game at Jefferson High School, which is located just a few minutes away from Shepherd University on Flowing Springs Rd. WHAG and Your4state.com has reported the altercation involved two juveniles that both attend Jefferson High School and one of them was taken to Jefferson Medical Center by ambulance with non life-threatening injuries. The student that was injured was thankfully treated and released. This incident calls into question whether there is sufficient security at local sports events, such as high school football games, and if anything can be done to prevent weapons from being taken into them.
Sheriff Dougherty says that one juvenile had a knife and stuck another juvenile but it is still not clear what happened, if anything, to escalate the incident. Was something done to provoke the student with the knife or did that student just randomly stab the other student?
Nevertheless, the juvenile responsible for the stabbing was quickly taken into police custody. What criminal charges this juvenile will face have yet to be released. Security officials responded to the scene and handled the situation almost immediately. All the school staff and other officials at the game responded well to this unfortunate incident as it took them less than ten minutes, from when the stabbing initially took place, to evacuate all the spectators from the stadium according to The Martinsburg Journal.
Kenneth M. Garvey, Principal of Jefferson High School, said in a statement: “At this time, we are certain that this was an isolated incident involving only these two boys. That being said, please know that we take this matter seriously and we will investigate thoroughly and discipline appropriately.”
The principal also said in his statement that extra counselors would be provided to students who felt they needed support from them.
I certainly agree with this statement however, I would argue that both the school and Jefferson County need to review their safety procedures and protocols at all their sports events, especially football games. This stabbing should get the attention of all the schools in the area, including Shepherd University, and it should highlight the need for extra security at sports events and large gatherings of people. If more police and security are positioned at these games, the mere sight of them may cause people to think twice before acting in a violent and illegal manner.
According to multiple reports, staff and security at the game acted quickly and appropriately when this altercation took place however what can be done to prevent it from happening in the first place? It is a difficult question to answer. Preventing a person from bringing a weapon, such as a knife, into a football game can be even more difficult unless metal detectors are used at the entrances. I hope school and county officials can learn from this incident and take appropriate steps to help prevent something similar from happening again.