Policy changes impact middle school crowd at football games

Photo by Ellie Watts

Photo by Ellie Watts

Maggie Fleming, Opinion Editor

High school football games are home to chaos. Everything about the setting emits mayhem– the raging crowd squished in alarmingly shaky bleachers, the smack of snare drums at halftime, the loud whistles, and the cheering that follows a touchdown. It’s all fun and games until you get smacked in the head with a water bottle or trampled by a stampede of 12 year olds. 

DGN parent Sue Mancuso had a similar negative experience with the middle school crowd.

“There was a group of 10 or more girls sitting behind us being incredibly loud and rude. We asked them to tone it down, and they responded with ‘we can be here and do whatever we want to,’” Mancuso said. 

According to Mancuso, when she asked the group of younger kids if they had an adult around, they replied with ‘no’ and that their parents were at home. 

In order to prevent events like this from happening, a new policy regarding non-high school aged fans was implemented. A letter was sent out Aug. 26 to the District 99 Partner Elementary School Superintendents addressing the new set of guidelines. 

“All middle school students and younger children must be accompanied and supervised by a paid adult with a ticket/pass who is present at the game for the entire time the child is present. If there is no adult with students younger than high school age, they will not be allowed into the stadium,” the D99 statement said. 

Along with admission to the football games, if any child who isn’t actively supervised by a paying adult is in the stadium, they will be removed by a staff member. According to supervisor Stephen Bolt, the new policies aren’t enforced just to manage younger kids behavior, but to protect them too. 

“It’s all for their own safety. There are kids who will congregate on the ramp so people can’t get around them; they’ll jump over the ramp, or they’ll be climbing on fences. I think they’re just trying to cut down on their misbehavior and be able to monitor them better,” Bolt said.

In addition to new admission requirements, the school also made adjustments to the boundaries for the outdoor track and football field area. 

“We have sealed off a few bigger areas so the middle school kids can’t have a ton of space to be running all over the place. I think it has been better in that regard,” Bolt said. 

With the incorporation of recent policies, D99 aims to provide a safer and more positive environment at football games.