December 20, 2014

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UPDATED: Police say parents, students, coach involved in fight at Elyria basketball game

ELYRIA — A fight between students, parents and a Strongsville coach during a girls basketball game on Saturday may have been started by a 6-year-old who used a derogatory word toward a group of Elyria High School students, police said.

Police were approached by a Strongsville parent during a game at the Elyria High School gymnasium. The spectator said some of the Elyria High School students were being disruptive and had made obscene gestures to a Strongsville fan’s children, who were 6 and 8.

The students were upset because the 6-year-old child had allegedly used a derogatory word toward the group, according to a police news release.

Police said the incident appeared to be settled, but at the end of the game, a group of Elyria High School students and a parent of one of the students became involved in a verbal confrontation with a Strongsville spectator, and one of the Elyria High School students had to be restrained.

A female Strongsville coach, who was not named by police, approached the group and allegedly pushed an Elyria High School parent, which led to a physical altercation between the two, according to the news release.

Sources at the game told The Chronicle-Telegram that Elyria parents were vocal and negative toward Strongsville players from the start of Saturday night’s game.

One or two Strongsville players wore cosmetics, and those players were referred to derisively during the game as “Miss Maybelline” and “Cover Girl,” according to a witness.

Police Lt. William Pelko said police are investigating the incident, and charges are expected to be filed. He said police are still working to identify the people involved in the confrontation.

The Elyria-Avon Lake girls’ basketball game scheduled for Monday night at Elyria High was postponed because of the incident.

Officials at Strongsville Schools did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

Elyria Schools spokeswoman Amy Higgins said the Elyria Police Department is primarily handling the investigation, but those involved in the fight could be subject to the district’s discipline policy.

She reiterated that no Elyria High School players or coaches were involved in the confrontation.

The district policy demands that anyone on school property abides by laws and building regulations, which include bans on assaults and foul language. That policy applies to anyone on district property, including all athletic officials, coaches and visiting teams.

Those who violate the policy will be asked to leave the property and, should the person refuse, law enforcement officials will be called. The administration cooperates in any prosecution pursuant to the criminal laws of the state and local ordinances, according to the policy.

Under the policy, students who are removed from extracurricular activities may be banned from all extracurricular activities.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.