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The principals of Gaithersburg and Northwest high schools have outlined a series of steps that the schools’ football programs will take following Friday night’s brawl during a game on the Gaithersburg campus. The steps include requiring both teams to forfeit last Friday’s game and forfeit upcoming games this week.

The brawl led to the arrest of four minors and one adult as well as the suspension of the football programs at both schools.

On Monday, Gaithersburg High Principal Cary Dimmick, Northwest High Principal Scott Smith and Jeffrey Sullivan, the director of athletics for Montgomery County Public Schools, said in a letter to the high school communities that a “comprehensive investigation” is under way and they outlined the actions the school system would be taking in the wake of the brawl.

“The initial stages of this investigation have determined that actions by student-athletes and staff from both schools played a role in the escalation of events that transpired during the game,” the administrators said, noting the “actions demonstrated are in direct conflict with” the core values of the district’s athletics program.

The letter said last Friday’s game would be declared a “double forfeit,” meaning that both schools would be awarded a loss. Additionally, both teams must forfeit their next games scheduled for Friday; Northwest was scheduled to play Richard Montgomery High and Gaithersburg was scheduled to play Bethesda-Chevy Chase High.

Junior varsity games also have been suspended this week and might be rescheduled later in the season if both schools approve, the letter states.


“Unfortunately, the forfeitures of these games impact many students, staff, and community members beyond the football teams, and MCPS staff and resources are available to provide support of all stakeholders, including other athletic teams and student organizations,” the officials wrote in the letter.

The letter also states that both Gaithersburg and Northwest will “engage in restorative practices” starting this week. Chris Cram, an MCPS spokesman, said Tuesday that such activities embody the same concept as restorative justice.

Restorative justice refers to a conflict-resolution strategy for students that “help build safe and equitable school climates, strengthen relationships between students and adults and encourage responsibility, accountability and empathy,” MCPS states on its website.


Dan Schere can be reached at