GREENSBORO — In the wake of fights that broke out last week at a city-sponsored Summer Night Lights event for teenagers at the Greensboro Sportsplex, the city has canceled this week’s final event in the series at the multisport complex.
More than 65 first responders were dispatched to a large disturbance Friday at the complex, where 550 teenagers were gathered.
A Guilford Metro 911 incident report, released Tuesday, listed the nature of the call as “500 disorderly subjects.”
Carla Banks, a spokeswoman for the city of Greensboro, said about 10 small groups of teens starting fighting at different spots in the city-owned gym. A video of one fights shows several teenagers beating and kicking a male lying on the gym floor.
City officials and police had declined to comment on what happened at the Sportsplex, located at 2400 16th St. until Wednesday, when the city sent out a news release announcing that it had canceled this Friday’s event at the facility.
Because the fights happened at the start of the weekend, city staff members could not meet until Monday to discuss the incident, learn what happened and decide how to proceed, said Nasha McCray, the director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.
“We did have an incident” at Friday’s event, McCray said Wednesday afternoon. “We did have about 550 teens that were in attendance at the program, and during that program, there were a small number of incidents involving a small number of participants where we made the decision for the safety of all to dismiss a little early.”
She said she couldn’t comment on the exact nature of the incident or whether parents were notified.
When the fights broke out, there were 20 to 30 staff members, volunteers, and law enforcement officers present, McCray said.
The event was the fourth at the Sportsplex this summer, designed to provide 13- to 18-year-olds a chance to gather, dance to a DJ, and play video games, indoor soccer and basketball.
This was one of 150 Summer Night Lights events held across the city throughout the summer, McCray said. They include fitness and cooking classes, movie nights, and crafts.
“They learn a lot of new skills, they’re able to socialize and just engage in just healthy activities throughout the summer,” McCray said.
Afternoon offerings continued this week, and the city will extend the hours of the Lewis, Windsor and Lindley recreation centers from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday to give teen somewhere to go.
McCray said they canceled the Sportsplex activities for several reasons, including worries they might not have enough staff member and volunteers to supervise it.
City staff will continue to evaluate the program with community partners and consider changes for next summer, according to the city’s news release.