Game Tradition Ban Causes Controversy

Tailgating and “the rail” off limits at Homecoming game


Emma Baziuk

Principal Neil Anderson addresses students during the Homecoming pep assembly on Sept. 8 about the reasoning behind safety changes at football games.

Many students were dismayed to find that administration had banned the long-standing traditions of tailgating and standing on the spectator railings during future football games. The policy goes into effect starting Friday Sept. 8.

Principal Neil Anderson sent out a voicemail on Sept. 6 to students and parents outlining changes to rules and regulations for the approaching Homecoming game.

“Monarch High School will not allow pre-game tailgate parties. Furthermore, no outside food and or drink will be allowed to enter the stadium and no backpacks or bags will be allowed to enter the stadium either,” Anderson said in the voicemail.

The decision was prompted by crowd behavior at the Bear Creek vs. Monarch football game last Friday, Sept. 1 at the Howard P. Spangenberg Field at Centaurus High School.  “We had an unusually high amount of drinking in the stadium,” said Assistant Principal Mark Sibley.

This not only presented concerns for student safety, but also forced administrators to take action.

There is a principle of school law called “in loco parentis” which, in a nutshell, states the legal responsibility of school officials to assume the functions and responsibility of a parent during an event such as a football game.

“[If I see a drinking violation] my answer can’t be, ‘No I didn’t do anything about it’ because if someone gets in a car after the game, and gets in a wreck and hurts themselves or somebody else, it’s a problem and if i don’t address it then I’m being negligent,” Athletic Director Eric Gustafson said.

In addition to the drinking violation, Gustafson witnessed Monarch students chanting vulgarities about rival school Centaurus towards Centaurus soccer, baseball and football players who were going home after practice.

In response to the new restrictions, some members of the senior class discussed  an unofficial protest action on GroupMe to be executed at the game on Sept. 8.  However, Student Council and Anderson took time during Student Council class on Sept. 7 to compromise and come up with a productive solution.

It was decided that tailgating will be banned at the Homecoming game but will be continued from there on. Standing on the rail will be prohibited, but students will be allowed to stand up to the rail in order to preserve the energy created during games. The main concern regarding the rail was safety, as well as a legality issue if someone were to ever fall off and get hurt.

“[Anderson] was trying to compromise rather than just end these traditions and he talked about how much he respected the traditions, and understands how big a part they have at the school,” said Head Boy Grady Isbill.

The discussion also included ideas for increased collaboration between adults and student decision-makers.

“We also talked about how Student Council and admin can team up and talk to Centaurus and get a better environment for tailgate instead of having it kind of chaotic in the parking lot,” said Head Girl Liz Hogan.