Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland are cracking down on violence and other disturbances at their athletic events.
In a letter to school families Wednesday, Superintendent Mark Bedell cited several incidents from just the first two weeks of the school year.
“We have had several instances that have required the undue attention of school system personnel who are staffing the game and, at times, police resources over and above those specifically allocated to an event,” Bedell wrote.
“We also have seen a growing number of youngsters unaccompanied by adults who find themselves in larger groups doing things other than watching the event.”
Moving forward, he wrote, the district will have a zero-tolerance policy toward disruptions at games or any other district events.
“This is an attempt by Dr. Bedell to reach out to families to say, ‘Look, we need your help. We need younger kids who may not be involved in violent acts, but who are roaming around athletic events unsupervised and unaccompanied by adults, to be accompanied by adults.’ And then we need people to quite simply learn how to act right,” school system spokesman Bob Mosier told WTOP.
The school system is also adding some new rules.
Starting Friday, all middle and elementary school students must be accompanied by an adult at athletic events. In addition, anyone involved in violent activity will be ejected and banned from any extracurricular events for 90 days.
Any student-athletes who get involved in a disturbance, he said, will be “subject to the regulations regarding athletic participation as stipulated in the AACPS Athletics Handbook.”
Bedell warned that further action might be necessary, such as changing the times and dates of events, or even limiting attendance.
“Our school system … will continue to take appropriate steps to help ensure that venues for athletics and other extracurricular activities are safe and welcoming environments where supporters can focus on the event and not be distracted by inappropriate behavior,” Bedell wrote.
Last Friday in Frederick County, Maryland, spectators were evacuated from a high school football game after two separate fights broke out in the stands.
According to authorities, those two fights did not involve players, nor did they involve students from Frederick or Middletown high schools.
WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.