By: Iman Khosrodad, Jason Grayer (B-CC Tattler), Emma Saltzman and Danis Cammett (WJ Pitch)
B-CC and WJ sometimes have had a friendly rivalry. However, it’s fair to say that these tensions from this rivalry have reached a breaking point in a series of incidents that eventually led to many severe injuries and three students being arrested.
These incidents began with spray painting on January 14th, when a sacred and traditional Walter Johnson wall was vandalized. The wall, located on the side of a shed on the WJ campus, was spray-painted on with pro-B-CC messages along with an obscene image. This wall was one that had originally been painted on with the names of current seniors at the school. The following day, B-CC’s campus was vandalized in three locations. The campus was struck with the words “B-CC Sucks” and “Go Vikings” written on a wall on Chelton Road. Other anti-B-CC comments were written on the rock in front of campus and on the electronic sign at the front of the school. Some may believe that the damage caused to our campus was “payback” from WJ students for vandalism on their sacred wall. In a joint email issued by both B-CC Principal Shelton Mooney and WJ Principal Jennifer Baker to their respective school communities, “These acts resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to the schools and a full police investigation. These acts are all completely unacceptable and both schools will work collaboratively to determine the facts and administer appropriate consequences.”
After the vandalistic actions had concluded, both schools were looking towards the boy’s basketball game on Friday, January 17. The game was described as “tense” and “heated” by many students in attendance.
“As soon as you walked in the building, it was like you were cut with a knife,” WJ junior Arun Sen said. “Everyone was mad at each other when they walked in the hallways, you could just see it in their eyes.”
WJ took an early lead, but as the game progressed B-CC began to catch up, tensions rose. The game ended with a B-CC victory of 59 - 58, a nail-biting end to a close game.
Minutes after the game ended, students from both sides of the stands rushed to the parking lot. A large circle formed, fighting and shouting soon ensued. The scene quickly turned violent, with fights breaking out in various locations, and students being pepper sprayed and held down by police officers, many students pulled out their phones to take videos, only encouraging the brawling to intensify.
“I was just watching the fight with my friends but a guy that we had been trash talking five minutes earlier ran over and sucker punched me. I had oral surgery afterwards and I will most likely be needing two root canals. I’m probably going to press charges. My medical bills are so high,” said a student at B-CC, who would rather remain anonymous due to an ongoing police investigation. The person who punched him was identified within an hour. “We found a picture of the student section and my friends and I identified the guy based off the picture. We sent the picture to people we knew from WJ and they told us his name. The police looked at footage from before the fight and saw the guy that we found. He’s the only suspect.”
Second District Commander Sean Gagen stated that the three male students who were arrested were all from B-CC. All three are juveniles and were being charged with assault. They were later released to their parents. None of the arrests were because of the vandalism.
Tensions between students appeared to have calmed.
By The Tattler Editorial Staff and and The WJ Editorial Staff
There has been a hostile environment between schools in the Bethesda area lately.
The rivalry that once was playful, has reached a new extreme and turned dangerous. With the events that occurred within the last few weeks, we believe it is important for all to take a step back. We all want to root for our school and cheer on our classmates, but once the rivalry crosses the line into violence, it’s not a mere high school rivalry. Hostilities create a divided community that has implications beyond a sports game. We all know people from other schools in our area because we all belong to a greater community and that community should not suffer because of these rivalries. Rumors break out, people turn on each other, people get seriously injured, and we end up losing privileges. Before the next game or event, remember that we’re all students and the only thing that separates us is the name that we’re rooting for.