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Northshore high schools cancel rivalry football game over fear of violence

“There have been shootings in our community and some of those have been of our children in our schools and it’s just unbelievable.”

ANGIE, La. — Two Washington Parish football teams are back on the practice field after their Friday night rivalry game was canceled. 

School leaders at Bogalusa High School and Varnado High School in Angie decided to call off the game because they feared the violence that’s been plaguing the community might spread to the stadium.

“As we have gone through so much violence in our community we just thought it was in the best interest to not play that game,” said Lisa Tanner, Bogalusa Schools Superintendent. “There have been shootings in our community and some of those have been of our children in our schools and it’s just unbelievable.”

The decision comes after 18-year-old Aaron Brown, an 11th grade Bogalusa High School student, was shot and killed in late August. He was getting off a school bus at the time. About a month later, a 13-year-old junior high school student was also shot after getting off a school bus, though he would live. Tanner says coaches and administrators feared the violence might transfer to the football game.  

 “Sometimes fear comes from the unknown and you just don’t know,” Tanner said. “So, when there is fear from a community and parents about the safety of their children, I think you have to think above and beyond that.”

There weren’t any specific threats made, according to Tanner, but she says there were concerns about the one-way in and one-way out dead-end street at Varnado High School, meaning if there was another shooting the chaos that would follow could make it difficult to get out of the area.

Amber Freeman’s step-son attends Varnado. She says there were several fights the last time the two schools faced off at Varnado. With the recent violence, she thinks it was smart to call off the game.

“It’s pretty crazy. I mean all this violence,” Freeman said. "The last time the game was here it was crazy. There were people everywhere and fights broke out, so it’s best.”

As of right now, no other games have been cancelled but school leaders say there will be heightened security at all future games.

The schools were allowed to find other teams to play or take a bye. Varnado played Baker High School Friday night. Bogalusa opted to have a bye week.