ATKINS, AR — When the Atkins Red Devils and Danville Little Johns square off, everyone expects fierce competition between the rivals. But last Friday, fans watching a girls high school basketball game in the Atkins gymnasium got a lot more than that.
Witnesses say the game was bouncing along smoothly until the end of the first quarter when a parent from Danville got upset.
“He walked out on the court to speak with either the coach or the official,” said Atkins schools superintendent Mark Gotcher. He says the parent was confronted by the school resource officer and an off-duty deputy with the Pope County Sheriff’s Office.
“They were simply asking him to leave, and the unfortunate incident took place,” Gotcher said.
During a scuffle, the parent Roy Hodges, was arrested. The school resource officer with the Atkins Police Department was injured. Parents from both schools became involved and the game was postponed.
“We support our resource officer and the county deputy,” Gotcher said.
But some folks in Danville tell a different story. An editorial in the Yell County Record speaks of an “overzealous deputy” who “jumped down from the bleachers” and “became entangled with Hodges” — who was tased twice while already on the floor.
Hodges is charged with Battery and Disorderly Conduct.
Atkins Police are investigating whether the officers acted appropriately while administrators from both school districts are urging their families to make amends.
“Just like in any competitive sport, there’s always 50 percent that love the call and 50 percent that don’t like the call,” Gotcher said.
The game was finished Wednesday with Atkins winning.
Danville Public Schools Superintendent Gregg Grant issued the below statement on the incident Thursday:
“High School athletics are intended to be a positive experience for student-athletes. The incident that occurred at Atkins were far from a positive experience for all involved. It is my desire that the events of this unfortunate incident be a reminder of the purpose and goal of inter-scholastic activities.”