ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) – White Plains High School has forfeited Friday’s football game against Anniston High School after a shooting earlier this week involving Anniston High School students. This comes on the heels of the decision to cancel Thursday’s homecoming parade for Anniston High School.
Anniston police say there was a shooting Tuesday night at the South Highland Community Center after a fight broke out between some Anniston High School students. The school resource officer heard some rumors there might be retaliation at the homecoming parade, which is why police say it was canceled out of an abundance of caution.
“At all football games and parades, there’s going to be a police presence there. We have uniform and plain clothes officers that are at the games, we have cameras that cover the games,” says Anniston Police Chief Nick Bowles. “We don’t have those type of situations and these don’t happen often at all but you know, it’s refreshing to see civilian organizations like the school system to take that big leap and that leap of faith and trust to keep everybody safe.”
There was a question swirling as to whether or not the homecoming football game against White Plains would also be canceled. While the game is not happening, Anniston High School says the celebrations will continue at the stadium honoring the football team, cheerleaders, band and homecoming court. We reached out to Anniston City Schools and Calhoun County Schools for comment but have not yet heard back.
Anniston police say an incident like this shooting is rare to happen among students.
“Know where your kids are. Be involved if you’re letting them go out to homecomings or graduations or proms, know who they’re with. Know who their friends are. If their friends are troublemakers, keep them away from them. You know, you’ve got to educate your kids and it’s a sad time that we live in where you really have to think about that,” Bowles said.
There’s been a lot of mixed reaction about Friday’s game as it’s Anniston High School’s homecoming game. Some White Plains High School parents say they’re glad the game was called off, while some Anniston High School parents don’t feel the same way.
“It’s just going to hurt the students, it’s unfair to the students, it’s unfair to the athletes, it’s unfair to the band members and I think they’re just missing out,” says Leland Fullbright, parent to an Anniston High School student. “It’s just going to further perpetuate the negative stereotype that Anniston has.”
Many in the Anniston community say homecoming traditions are something students don’t forget, especially seniors.
“I’m really upset, and forgive me people if I’m sounding sort of angry because I am, because this doesn’t make any sense,” says Glen Ray, president of the Calhoun County NAACP. “I’m ready to take my grandkids and everybody, go have tail-parties and get ready for a football game.”
Some Anniston High School alumni say keeping kids’ safety in mind should be a top priority.
“I know things can happen these days faster than we, you know, I didn’t have to worry about guns at our school when we were in school and stuff like that,” says Joshua Green, Anniston High School alum. “Nobody’s life is worth going to a football game over.”
Some Anniston High School alumni and parents will be meeting at the stadium at 6 p.m. to pray over the school, county and safety of the children.