Students younger than high school-age will have to be accompanied by an adult at home Greencastle-Antrim High School varsity football games beginning this season.
A letter is being sent to parents of students in kindergarten through eighth grade this week about the new rule, as well as steps that will be taken if a student misbehaves. A vote was not needed, but school board members supported the plan at Thursday's meeting.
There have been incidents, including fights, among some middle school students dropped off at football games without adult supervision and the police have had to be called at times, Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, told the board. The adult does not have to be with the child at all times, but needs to be in the stadium in case there are problems.
The letter from Trail and Vicki Ritchey, director of athletics, is based on one from the Chambersburg Area School District, where the policy is already in place. Trail added the measure is also being started in the Waynesboro Area School District this year.
The letter says the district takes "great pride in our school spirit and fan participation" and students are encouraged to attend sporting events.
"However, we also expected our students to demonstrate appropriate behavior while attending these various events," the letter says.
All non-high school students must be accompanied by an adult for admission to varsity football games.
"The adult accompanying the school student(s) is responsible for their behavior and well-being throughout the duration of the sporting event," the letter continues.
The plan is to check their names against the list of students in grades nine to 12, according to Trail, who noted the new policy will involve some "trial and error."
A student deemed to be behaving inappropriately by district staff will be given a verbal warning. If the behavior continues after the warning, the student will be removed from the event by district staff or security "and the accompanying adult will be expected to immediately remove the student from school property."
At away games, students are subject to the rules of that district.
"As representatives of the Greencastle-Antrim School District, it is the responsibility of all our students to demonstrate good sportsmanship and character. Let us work toward show showing everyone that the Blue Devils have class!" the letter concludes.