New policy aims to increase safety after recent security breaches
Montgomery Blair High School's administration imposed a policy forbidding spectators from bringing all types of bags to home varsity football games. The regulation, announced on Oct. 29, followed recent incidents in which students were caught sneaking alcohol into Blazer Stadium.The "no bag" rule is for varsity football games solely because, as Blair athletic director Rita Boule explained, the packed stadium forces administrators to stop spectator misbehavior at the gate. "At a boys or girls soccer game or at field hockey, I can scan the bleachers in a minute and I know who's there and I know what they're doing," she said. "At football, there's a couple hundred students sitting together and you're not exactly sure what's going on at all times."
The regulation does not sit well with many Blair students. Freshman Kosi Williams voiced his disapproval. "I think that this policy is unfair to students. They should have the freedom to bring their bags," Williams said.
Likewise, junior Christina McCann expressed her displeasure. Yet hers stemmed more from the need for a ban in the first place. "I think it's sad that we had to resort to a 'no bag' policy to prevent people from bringing stuff that they shouldn't into games. I don't like the policy, but now I think it's necessary," she said.
Prohibiting bags was not instituted to be a popular decision, however. "Blair athletics is about the safety and security of our fans and of our athletes," Boule said. "We want kids and families and parents and players feeling comfortable when they come to a game.
And then we'll do everything we can to have fun, entertaining events."
One dilemma is that students going to a game directly from school will have to find a place to deposit their backpacks. Boule held out the possibility that Blair could create a bag deposit service or even revisit the "no bag" rule and allow in bags, provided they have been inspected. She plans to meet again with administration to talk about these sorts of logistics for next year.
Blair's ban is not unique: Quince Orchard High School has implemented the same policy at its football games while the NFL restricted the size of bags permissible in all stadiums this year.
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