North Middlesex Students' ‘Inappropriate' Behavior Gets Them Banned From Sporting Events

The ban will be revisited by school and district administration officials on Feb. 1

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Students at a Massachusetts high school have been temporarily banned from attending home and away athletic events due to their "inappropriate" behavior.

A letter was sent to parents of students at North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend Tuesday saying that, due to repeated complaints from parents and administrators, students will not be allowed to attend athletic events until Feb. 1, when the issue will be revisited.

"Throughout the course of the school year, I have received far too many correspondences from a number of stakeholders regarding our student fans' inappropriate use of language, taunting behavior, and vulgarity at athletic contests. We have addressed each of these incidences individually, and as a whole, as a means of curtailing inappropriate behaviors by our student spectators," Principal Tim McMahon said in a statement.

McMahon said the issue was discussed with students in December and mentioned to parents in his two recent newsletters.

"Despite our best efforts to encourage reflection and behavior modification at our athletic events, the same problems continue to arise," McMahon said. "I feel it's critical that students understand that inappropriate behavior is a poor reflection upon themselves, their families, and our school community."

Students with siblings that are on school athletic teams will still be allowed to go to games but must attend with their parents, McMahon said. Junior varsity athletes will be able to attend varsity games if they are playing away and sharing the same bus. In that case, a coach is required to supervise them at the game.

Students at the regional high school that serves Townsend, Pepperell and Ashby were not exactly cheering for the principal's decision.

"This isn't necessary at all. We should be able to go and cheer on our own teams," student Kayla Caliendo said.

Student-athletes are hopeful school administrators will lift the restriction before some of them play the final games of their high school careers.

"For the athletes, it's really sad. But it sounds like it might be short-lived and they'll give them another try so that's constructive," parent Dianne Cottkee said.

"This is not a decision that was made lightly or without significant conversation with school and district administration. I also understand that it may not be a popular one. That said, I am optimistic that we can get to a point where students are welcomed back into our athletic events in the near future without compromising our expectations for their behavior and decorum," McMahon said.

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