Dearborn Schools Investigating Fight at Fordson Basketball Game

No students have been disciplined at this time.

A fight that broke out Tuesday night between players on the Fordson and Redford Thurston boys basketball team at Fordson High School is being investigated, Dearborn Public Schools officials confirmed Wednesday.

No disciplinary actions have been taken at this time, though there is a possibility that some students could get suspended from games, or from school.

MLive reported Tuesday night that the fight broke out just after the game, and appeared to start when a Fordson player pushed a Thurston player as the teams were about to shake hands.

"From there, both benches just cleared," MLive intern Jon Corrigan, who was covering the game for the online publication, said in the site’s article on the incident. "Fans also ran onto the court, including parents. It was a free-for-all from there."

Fordson Athletic Director Mark Shooshanian confirmed that a student officer called Dearborn police during the incident, but that “it was all over” by the time police showed up.

“Basically it lasted 30 seconds,” he said.

Shooshanian, who also serves on Dearborn City Council, was not at the game due to a council meeting, but said he spoke with Assistant Athletic Director Jeff DelGuidice about the incident.

DelGuidice and Shooshanian—along with officials at Redford Thurston and district officials from both school systems—are in the process of reviewing video from the game and speaking with witnesses to get a clear account of what happened and what action needs to be taken.

Shooshanian said that it’s possible players could be suspended from a game, and also from school.

“It depends on the severity of it,” he said.

He added that one of the coaches did get hit by a student, but that both parties said the incident—which involved a student elbowing the coach in the face—was an accident.

Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen said that Superintendent Brian Whiston had already spoken with the South Redford Schools superintendent, and that disciplinary action would be determined at the school level.

Fordson administrators, he added, will be required to “inform the district of procedures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Original reports from MLive indicated that there were “people with black eyes and bloody noses,” and that both parents and students in the stands became involved in the altercation.

Mustonen said that may not have been the case.

“Our initial reports are that parents came out of the stands to break things up,” he said.

“From players, from fans, from coaches on both sides, that what was reported on Mlive was greatly exaggerated,” he added. “Both sides are saying there were no punches thrown—that this turned into a shoving match.”

DelGuidice also told MLive Wednesday that he "did not see any punches thrown" when reviewing video from the game.

No one received medical attention at the scene.

Shooshanian added that in his experience with high school sporting events, fights often look different depending on a spectator’s point of view.

“Theses things happen so fast—there’s nothing you’re going to do,” he said. “When you see it happening, you think, ‘They’re all jumping in on it,’ but that’s not the case.”

Mustonen confirmed that School Resource Officers are often present at Dearborn sporting events, but that it’s usually for crowd control.

When altercations occur, he said, it’s usually not between players.

“Our rivalry games … those sometimes in the past have become heated,” he said. “Many times, it’s not the players—it’s the people in the crowd.”

Regardless, Mustonen stressed that fights are “very uncommon” at Dearborn Public Schools sporting events.

Melissa C January 17, 2013 at 02:06 PM
@Jessica....maybe Mustonen should release the video of this so we can form an unbiased opinion.
Joe January 17, 2013 at 03:11 PM
I was there. At least two individuals had black eyes, one of which being a Fordson assistant coach and the other being a parent from the stands. As for the coaches getting involved: one of the Thurston assistant coaches made some borderline questionable decisions to say the least...
Joe January 17, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Sounds like the Athletic Directors are making an effort to down play everything. For those 30 seconds that it lasted, it was complete chaos. "Seemingly" everyone in the gym got involved.
Kassem January 17, 2013 at 04:05 PM
The MLive article doesn't say that any punches were thrown. Also, Fordson videotapes there games from an almost birds-eye view at center court. That's probably a way better vantage point than the kid covering this story had. Can't blame him for saying what he thought he saw.
Jared Purcell January 17, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Kassem, Thank you for your thoughtful response on this. As the news broke, the intern's viewpoint did provid an initial reaction that seemed to coincide with the words "fight" and "brawl" floating through social media. It only made sense to ask him what he saw. As the investigation progressed, however, a lot more information came to light of help clarify the situation. People saw what they saw, including the many that began using Twitter after the incident calling it a "fight" and a "brawl". Yet, it seems like this article setts itself up with a spectator's quote of what they honestly thought they saw in a quick, confusing situation for those at the gym and then pick it apart. The police and school administration provided its viewpoint after thoroughly investigating the matter. Of course there will be different opinions about the incident by that point.


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