Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will implement a number of enhanced security measures at athletic events beginning this Friday, Sept. 23.
The move comes after an instance of unacceptable and abhorrent behavior during a recent varsity football game, including the inexcusable off-field altercations during the Sept. 16 matchup between Northwest and Gaithersburg high schools.
MCPS is committed to the safety and security of students, families and community members who want to enjoy various athletic contests, and will not tolerate the indefensible and violent behavior and actions that have occurred in the opening weeks of this fall season.
To ensure the safety of all spectators and game participants, beginning Sept. 23, the following tiered actions will go into effect at all high school games:
- Students of the participating schools will be allowed to attend with a valid ticket and with their student ID or Synergy verification of their schedule. All other school-aged spectators must be accompanied by an adult chaperone—this includes all elementary and middle school students and high school students from other schools. Adult chaperones must stay and supervise students for the duration of their stay at the game. Spectators are asked to be patient at the gate, as admission may take additional time.
- Students and spectators must sit in the stands during the game. While there will be potential gatherings at halftime and postgame, large gatherings will not be allowed during the game.
- There will be no re-entry and spectators will not be admitted after halftime.
- Backpacks will not be allowed.
- Only student-athletes, coaches, game officials, athletic department staff, and credentialed personnel and media are permitted on the sidelines.
- Event security personnel will use separate entrances, staggered exits and additional support in high-traffic areas.
- Inappropriate and unruly behavior may result in suspension from subsequent MCPS athletic activities.
These changes will be in effect for all high school athletic events for the remainder of the season.
Should other incidents occur, other tiered security interventions will be implemented. These could include spectator capacity limitations and game time/date adjustments. Additional actions will be based on the following criteria or guidelines:
- Level of anticipated spectator attendance.
- Historical rivalries between schools.
- Historical occurrence of incidents, including this year and previous years.
- Facility layout, including lighting, spectator seating and parking lot layout.
- Incidents in the community that may impact school and athletic event operations, which will be communicated through a collaborative process with police partners.
Any teams that engage in severe or inappropriate behaviors may be excluded from postseason competition or suspended for multiple games.