TOWNSEND (CBS) – A Massachusetts high school has temporarily banned students from attending athletic events as fans due to a string of recent inappropriate behavior in the stands.
North Middlesex Regional High School principal Tim McMahon sent a letter to families saying he’s received “repeated complaints.” As a result, students will be unable to attend home or away games.
“If you act up you get privileges taken away,” said student Ryan Plaistek. “I think it’s kind of fair.”
The decision will be revisited on February 1.
“Throughout the course of the school year, I have received far too many correspondences from a number of stakeholders regarding our student fans’ inappropriate use of language, taunting behavior, and vulgarity at athletic contests,” McMahon said in the letter.
McMahon said several steps were taken before the school settled on banning students. Fan behavior was mentioned in December and January newsletters to families and administrators met with student leaders.
“I do think we need to reel back a little on how we act at the games,” student Aaron Crouse said. “But it might a little too extreme banning them.”
“Some of the seniors want to go to their last hockey games and last basketball games but we’re not allowed to anymore,” student Kayla Caliendo said. “They’ve ruined the fun for all of us.”
During games when the varsity and junior varsity teams travel together, the JV students will be allowed to watch the varsity game under supervision of their coaches.
“I feel it’s critical that students understand that inappropriate behavior is a poor reflection upon themselves, their families, and our school community,” McMahon wrote. “Students have consistently been informed that all actions have consequences and, regrettably, these repeated actions have brought us to this point. We can not allow this type of behavior to be a reflection of North Middlesex and our school community.”
Some parents believe the ban is a drastic move. “Maybe there’s another way, or they could more pinpoint the kids, but I don’t know how difficult that would be,” said parent Dianne Kotke.
McMahon said the decision was not made lightly and understands it’s not a popular one. “I am optimistic that we can get to a point where students are welcomed back into our athletic events in the near future without compromising our expectations for their behavior and decorum,” McMahon said.