The administration implemented a no bag policy for varsity football games, in order to prevent the possibility of illegal materials coming onto school grounds, in an attempt to stop drunk driving. This policy prevents anyone from being able to bring any opened containers or bags to the games because the games tend to have a larger attendance than other sporting events.
“We noticed that other schools [had the same policy] in previous years,” director of student activities Joseph Swarm said. “I know that locally Madison [High School] was doing the same thing we are doing, and it seemed to help with the issue of people bringing in alcohol that shouldn’t be at the facility, so it’s a way to go about doing that.”
Though attendance at other events is generally lower than that of varsity football games, the lower turnout makes it easier to monitor the event.
“At basketball games it’s a little bit easier,” assistant athletic director Cornell Williams said. “We have staff here and it’s easy for us to see if a student has signs of intoxication, so we can address that right away.”
The safety of the students and families that attend the games is the major focus of this policy by preventing the possibility of anyone getting hurt because of contraband that was brought in. One of the leaders of the Marshall Mob, senior Joseph Welsh, sides with the implementation of this policy.
“I understand that the school is trying to prevent kids from bringing in substances and making the Marshall Mob and student section not what it’s supposed to be,” Welsh said. “So I understand and appreciate that they’re trying to making a better and more fun environment.”
Williams said that outside of the no bag policy there is not much the school can do in preventing the consumption of illegal materials off of school grounds, but the school does provide an educational course in raising awareness against underage drinking.
“As a school the only thing we can do to prevent teen drinking before or after our events is education,” Williams said. “We have a health education class and we talk about consumption of alcohol and that’s really all we can do at a safety and security standpoint. We can’t go through and check every car that comes in or breathalyze everyone.”
The sudden implementation of the policy also managed to catch attendees off guard with its initial release, but principal Jeff Litz gave a reason for its sudden appearance.
“I think certainly it’s important to have it now particularly as we get larger and we have more students coming to games,” Litz said.
Swarm said that the policy is just for the safety of teachers and students alike, with a focus on preventing any harm from illegal substances.
“This isn’t a target on the students,” Swarm said. “We don’t want adults coming with anything either. This is the entire population [we’re focusing on]. That is the hope, that everyone is coming, enjoying the event and heading home safe to and from the game. Anything we do here that is our first priority.”