AMBRIDGE (KDKA) — Not everyone was allowed into the Ambridge School District’s Homecoming football game Friday night.
Children aged 12 and under will no longer be allowed in the stadium unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
“We want this to be a safe environment for everybody attending the games — home and away fans,” Ambridge Police Chief James Mann said. “This should be like a family affair, parents should come to the games and support their football team.”
It’s all because of a new rule approved by the school board that went into effect during Friday’s Homecoming game. Apparently too many younger children were roaming through the stadium unsupervised during games.
“Some of the junior high kids, from what I gather, some of the littler kids were running around the stands, not paying attention to the game, not sitting down, running around causing havoc,” parent Vince Fernandez said.
“In a recent home football game, an elderly female was seriously injured by kids running around. They knocked her down. She had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. The school superintendent, L Joan Welter, was there. She witnessed the incident,” Mann said.
Vickie and Bill LaValle also witnessed the incident.
“The kids ran down, knocked an older lady down, and she ended up going to the hospital emergency room, and the kids never even stopped,” Vickie said.
The couple applauds the new rule, which was posted at the stadium’s entrance at Friday night’s game.
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“Because the kids have no respect and they need to have parents and guardians to take care of them,” Bill said.
Mann says the rule should have been passed in the ’90s. Parents seemed to like the new policy.
“I think it’s a good rule because kids nowadays, you’ve got people out there that are kidnapping kids and everything else, so I think it’s a very good rule,” parent John Meckling said.
Fernandez agrees that it’s a matter of safety.
“Under 12, they really shouldn’t be at the games by themselves anyway,” he said.
“I think if the safety of people is at stake, then I think it’s a smart move, absolutely,” Rob Fustich, of Ambridge, said.
The district’s athletic director, Brian Miller, says it was a necessary move and that there’s now a calm tone at the stadium.
“We don’t have any issues,” Miller said. “It’s a lot more calm and quiet, and we’ve had a lot of good compliments from the fans here that can enjoy the game.”
But not everyone thinks the new rule is a good rule. Deontae Jones thinks it’s not fair to kids whose parents may be working or not able to take them.
“I think it’s a bad idea … because everybody can’t come with their parents,” he said.
Police say only two or three kids were turned away from the Homecoming game for not having a parent or guardian with them.
About 20 or so kids got thrown out at the last game.
Several other school districts in the Pittsburgh area, including Moon and Mt. Lebanon, say they have no such policy in effect.