Sporting rivalries are nothing new to high school athletics and neither are the fun-loving pranks and emotions that usually accompany such events, but when does it go too far? What about spectators? High schools can usually regulate their staff and students, but what about parents and visitors?
Although there were no specific incidents cited, Colorado River Union High School District Superintendent Riley Frei recently told his district’s governing board that there had been some recent discussions in the community about the behavior of spectators at sporting events in the Tri-State area and a general concern about a lack of respect.
“It’s not unique to any one situation,” Frei said. “We’ve had some tough situations happen at ball games.”
The discussions, which have purportedly also taken place on social media, have prompted the district to proactively address what is and what is not expected and allowed during sporting events at Mohave and River Valley High Schools.
The high school board gave Frei the green light to move forward with what the district is calling its “Family Friendly Zone” policy, setting forth an effort to educate spectators on acceptable conduct and behavior.
“For me as a school administrator, it’s just unacceptable that anybody– parents, staff members, students, anybody– would ever represent our community in any other way than respectful,” Frei said. “When you’re at an event at some body else’s place, I hope people walk away– win, lose or draw– saying those are classy folks.”
Frei listed some behaviors that will not be tolerated by district administrators and staff who regularly attend and monitor sporting events at the district’s two schools.
“Profanity, chanting against the other team, getting after the officials– those are the types of things that are never acceptable,” Frei said.
The district’s first approach to gain voluntary compliance will be to post notices at all sporting events, informing spectators that they are entering a “Family Friendly Zone” and that they’re expected to exhibit respectable behavior toward both the team they are routing and their opponents, and the warning goes for both local spectators and those parents, students and others coming to the Tri-State area to root for teams that are visiting.
Frei reiterated that extracurricular activities are ‘designed to build character,’ and it is his hope that everyone understands what kind of character they’re instilling in others if they exhibit disrespectful behavior.