Student fan attendance ban lifted at local high school

Student fan attendance ban lifted at local high school
Students at North Middlesex Regional High School had been banned from cheering on their sports teams in the stands until further notice following several complaints about inappropriate language and behavior. (Boston 25)

TOWNSEND — A ban prohibiting students from cheering on their sports teams in the stands has been lifted.

Students at North Middlesex Regional High School had been banned from cheering on their sports teams in the stands following several complaints about inappropriate language and behavior.

Students will be allowed to attend athletic contests beginning Saturday, Jan. 25, when the school’s hockey team takes on St. Peter Marian.

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Principal Tim McMahon said in a statement that the ban was lifted after “difficult conversations” between school officials and students.

“As a result of the mature, respectful nature and tone of these conversations, the desire of our students to be part of the solution to an ongoing problem, and a mutual desire to see students back in the stands during all North Middlesex athletic contests as soon as possible, I am pleased to announce we will be lifting our restrictions on our students attending athletic contests,” McMahon said.

“The fact that students were the driving force in these conversations was both appropriate and refreshing,” he added.

McMahon said he was impressed with “how our students handled themselves in this process and how they advocated for collaboration in setting new procedures and protocols for all of those that attend athletic events, while not compromising the expectations that have been in place since the beginning of the year."

New procedures that will be implemented, to maintain appropriate behavior at all athletic contests, include: requiring students to bring their ID to all home games, signing a code of conduct before entering all games, and increasing staff for all home games. Spectators are also being asked to notify school staff when fans behavior inappropriately.

“I am confident that as we move forward and resume having our students cheer on their peers and classmates at our athletic events that we will continue to help and support them all understand the importance of demonstrating class, character, accountability, and integrity in all situations as we are all a reflection of the NM Community as a whole,” McMahon said.

Earlier, when the ban was put into place, McMahon cited “seemingly weekly complaints” involving “student fans’ inappropriate use of language, taunting behavior, and vulgarity at athletic contests.”

Each incident was addressed and discussed after it occurred, McMahon wrote, but administrators were forced to make the decision as the incidents continued.

“I feel it’s critical that students understand that inappropriate behavior is a poor reflection upon themselves, their families, and our school community,” McMahon added.

The decision was unpopular among students at the regional school, which serves the towns of Townsend, Pepperell and Ashby.