Gwinnett County principal says 'NO GUNFIRE' at Friday night high school football game

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The principal of Discovery High School in Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County sent a letter to parents and guardians after an incident during Friday night's football game.

According to the letter, the school made the decision to empty the stadium at halftime after a "massive" group of students caused panic by rushing towards an exit. The rush resulted in a "stampede of people" trying to get through the gates and over the stadium fence, according to the principal.

Despite the rumors on social media, there was "NO GUNFIRE" during the incident, according to Principal Marci Sledge. However, there were several fights after the crowd left the stadium.

Sledge also said that the police are investigating and interviewing spectators and if they identify who is responsible, they will face "appropriate" consequences. Additionally, students who engaged in fights will also face school disciplinary consequences, according to Sledge.

The school reportedly assigned an additional 15 administrators to work the game as well as a large contingent of School Resource Officers and the school is looking at ways to prevent a similar incident in the future.


Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported.

That was not the case at another high school football game on Friday night.

A senior at Dutchtown High School was reportedly shot in the parking lot at Hines Ward Field while attending the Jonesboro High School football game against Mt. Zion High School. The shooting happened during a robbery attempt, according to school officials, and the senior is expected to recover.

Clayton County Public Schools said after the shooting that they will continue to use weapon-detection devices at games and take other steps to keep students and staff safe, including moving up start times.


A brawl also broke out after Buford shut down St. Frances Academy from Maryland on Friday night, according to SB Live. However, this time the trouble was on the field and not in the stands or outside the stadium. 

Players began shoving each other after Buford's 18-0 win.

The potential for violence also impacted other football games on the schedule this weekend.

In Augusta, school officials decided to cancel Friday night's game between Butler and Cross Creek high schools, according to the Augusta Press. The decision was made because of a brawl earlier in the week at Butler High School. 

Additionally, Josey High School's season opener, which was scheduled to take place at home in Augusta, was moved to Savannah with a 5 p.m. kickoff after a shooting at the school earlier this week. 

And, the Benedictine-Jenkins high school football game in Savannah abruptly ended in the third quarter because of multiple crowd disruptions that started at halftime that appeared to be related to a TikTok challenge that instructed people to create a large, chaotic incident, according to SB Live

In Burke County, the sheriff's office announced it would be increasing patrols at Friday's game at Burke High School because of three incidents that week in Burke County Schools and a fight in the surrounding community.


Dear Discovery High School Parents and Guardians,

Clear and transparent communication is a core value at Discovery High School. It is a commitment to keep you informed with the latest and most accurate information concerning school matters. With that in mind, I wanted to update you about an unfortunate incident that happened at our school Friday.

Last night during the highly anticipated football game between our Titans and Central Gwinnett High, we made the difficult but correct decision to empty the stadium at halftime after a massive group of students caused panic by rushing toward the exit. This created a stampede of people trying to get through the gates and over the stadium fences. Fortunately, no one was injured during the rush, but several fights broke out after the crowds left the stadium.

To be clear, despite rumors on social media and what has been reported by some media outlets, there was NO GUNFIRE. School Police are investigating, interviewing spectators, and reviewing video of the incident to determine what happened. Whether the rush towards the exit was in anticipation of a fight or if it was an instance of a trend where students intentionally cause panic by rushing in a single direction in large groups, I want to reassure you if and when police identify who is responsible, they will face appropriate consequences. Students and spectators who engaged in fights will also face appropriate criminal and/or school disciplinary consequences.

In anticipation of this game that drew a record-setting crowd, including a large number of students and adults who do not attend and are not associated with Discovery or Central Gwinnett High, we assigned 15 administrators to work the game as well as a large contingent of School Resource Officers. I want to thank them for the way they handled a chaotic situation. With that said, in accordance with our commitment to continuous quality improvement, we are already looking at ways to prevent something like this from happening again and dealing with it if it does.

As always, I appreciate your continuous support of our students and school.

Proud Principal,

Marci Sledge

Discovery High School


Dear Discovery High School Parents and Guardians,

We all share the safety of students and staff as a top priority. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that we are aware of chatter and video circulating on social media regarding threats to our school.

I want to reassure you that we are taking this situation seriously. Our School Resource Officers (SRO), in conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, are actively investigating the source of the threats and who is responsible. At this point, authorities have found no evidence that the threats are credible. To be clear, police say your student is safe and not in any danger.

I also want to address a video from Friday night during which a popping sound can be heard. Despite talk that the sound came from gunshots, police say it was fireworks. To be clear, investigators say no gunshots were fired Friday night, the sound in the video came from fireworks.

I know that these types of posts can be very disruptive and concerning. In an abundance of caution, we will have additional SROs on campus Monday, and our administrative team will monitor the campus and engage with students to help them feel safe. With that said, we can’t do this alone. We need your help.

Please talk to your student about the dangers and potentially life-altering consequences of making threats against our school community and spreading false rumors. Making threats against individuals and/or our school is not only a violation of our student disciplinary code, it is also against the law. Violators will face appropriate school disciplinary consequences and criminal charges.

Although this situation is still under investigation, I felt it important to share this information with you in case you or your child should hear the rumors or chatter on social media about it. Again, I want to reassure you that we are actively dealing with this situation.

Should there be any new information related to the investigation, we will communicate it to you.

As a reminder, please let us know if you or your student sees or hears about something troubling and/or threatening to our school community. You can report your concerns anonymously through "GCPS Tips," our mobile app, or through a desktop or laptop web browser at Any information or tips you can share can help out investigation. Apple users can download GCPS Tips via the "App Store." Android users can find it in "Google Play." You can also share anonymous concerns by texting 738477.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the students and parents who reported their concerns to school administrators. We all have a role to play when it comes to keeping schools safe and those that came forward did the right thing.

As always, I thank you for your continued support of our school and students!