After a string of chaotic and confusing events at a high school football game, Appo and Howard change their policy.
Sports fans should not just assume that events like the one that rocked the recent Howard and Appoquinimink high school football game are inevitable, says the superintendent of New Castle Vo-Tech.
“As lifelong educators, most of the kids we interact with every day are doing well, and even in this incident, you find it’s just a few kids,” said Dr. Joseph Jones, superintendent of the New Castle VoTech School District, which is involved. Howard. “That is very unfortunate.
“We’re going into a situation of preparing for the worst but always hoping for the best, not just for football but for any event that brings a community together.”
Even so, Howard and Appoquinimink changed the attendance policy for their school’s football games to try to alleviate the problem as the state police maintained their usual presence.
Each of the Howard and Archmere football players and cheerleaders must submit the names of two guests, one adult, and one who is limited in attendance, Jones said.
In a statement on Appo’s Facebook page, they said that for future football games, students must purchase tickets either on Wednesday or Thursday, and they must show identification to confirm their attendance at the time of purchase and upon arrival. game.
Each player, cheerleader and band member will be given five guests but they must pay for the guest ticket at their school. Guests with minor children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Howard will continue to explore creative tactics to limit crowd size and chaos, such as limiting tickets to Friday night games, pre-selling tickets, or moving the start time to 5 p.m., Jones said.
Schools can add more security to their games, whether it’s bringing in a few police officers or school resource officers.
Howard has even considered hiring a private security company to send people out on game days to search people and patrol the scene, he said.
Concerns about football games began when Delaware Military Academy’s season-opening and Howard High School games were postponed after a series of events caused confusion and chaos.
Related story: DMA Howard football game suspended in third quarter
With 7:33 left in the third quarter, hundreds of fans on the Howard side of the bleachers began to run toward the exit, with many jumping over the barricade that separates the stands from the playing field.
Then last Saturday, a shooting near Appoquinimink High School during a football game but not related to it, alarmed families and officials.
Also last weekend, Howard High announced it would limit attendance to its Sunday game against Archmere Academy.
Dr. Joseph Jones, superintendent of New Castle VoTech School District, which includes Howard, said three events that led to swarms of people storming the field and out.
At first, a group of children ran around the stadium, he said.
At the same time, the police chased two people who tried to sneak into the stadium. For high-audience games, Howard will often stop selling tickets at halftime.
Then, he said there was some commotion in the bathroom and people were being rowdy.
All of this happened at the same time, and people were posting photos and videos on social media, causing some serious disruption, Jones said.
Although there were no fights in the stadium like some speculated, Jones said some fights broke out in the parking lot as people left the game.
The incident is unfortunate and disappointing to many in the New Castle community, Jones said.
Last Friday night, gunfire sounded on the road near Appoquinimink High School, where the Jaguars played crosstown rival Middletown.
The report was confusing and many people thought the violence was related to the game. It doesn’t, the Appoquinimink School District said in a release. Efforts to reach district or school officials this week were unsuccessful.
On Friday night, a youth and an adult were shot on Bunker Hill Road, east of Choptank Road and not on school property as the crowd was starting to leave the Appo-Middletown game, the release said.
Both victims were treated at Christiana Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. One of the victims was transported by helicopter to the hospital.
Middletown police are investigating and will release a statement/all officials regarding the incident, they said.
Delaware State Police Public Information Officer Leonard DeMalto said this week that high school football games should be places where families and friends can gather safely to enjoy the evening.
“We have troops working overtime and special task forces covering events like this,” DeMalto said. “Patrol officers are also often reminded of large-scale sporting events that occur during their shifts, so they can remember where large crowds may attend or gather throughout the day and evening.”
He believes that the string of incidents underscores the important role of school resource officers, who are state troopers under contract with the school district.
“SROs work in schools themselves and establish close relationships with students and staff,” he said. “These SROs are also often present at sporting events and large events such as proms and graduations.”
Simply having troopers and school resource officers present and visible will often deter youngsters from acting out, he added.
Police are not in the game to make an arrest, DeMalto said. They provide a symbol of safety and help efficiently carry out event logistics.
This includes directing traffic, monitoring the entry and exit of attendees, providing directions, ensuring that game day workers are supervised and safe, and a handful of other duties.
Update: Thursday, Brandywine High School posted on their Facebook that for all football games this year, tickets will only be sold at school lunch on the Thursday and Friday before the weekend games. The school also announced that no backpacks, book bags, or large bags will be allowed into the stadium.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek received his B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz