The Bluefield Daily Telegraph published this editorial on April 25:
It was surprising to hear last week of the growing problem of bad behavior among parents at local basketball and football games.
The problem is centered around a number of instances in which parents, and other adult family members, have cursed and even threatened teachers, vice principals, referees and other officials at ballgames on both the high school and middle school level.
A meeting was held last week between law enforcement and school officials to discuss the problem and to look for ways to educate the public about the possible consequences of behaving violently at school sporting events.
According to Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Cochran, he has received calls from principals about the behaviors they’re seeing at ballgames. Cochran said he saw one incident in which a principal was threatened and cursed.
“My understanding is that there have been some serious threats of physical harm to principals, vice principals and teachers,” Cochran said. “That, to me, should not be tolerated at all.”
We agree. And parents, who are supposed to be setting a good example for their children, certainly should know better.
Cochran says the adults who are acting inappropriately at the ballgames are usually local residents, and not individuals who are from out of town. And the people making these threats are usually individuals who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, Cochran said.
Mercer County School Superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers said the situation with adults acting badly at games has been an ongoing problem for the school system.
When school personnel and the public are at a school’s basketball game or any other extracurricular event, Akers says they are expected to exhibit good behavior and set an example for the students.
It’s kind of sad that we have to remind adults of this fact, as it should be common sense.
It should also be noted that those adults who go too far, including making threats of physical violence, can be banned by the school system from games for up to a year.
According to Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow, letters informing a parent that they are being banned from a ballpark have to be hand-delivered or sent by certified mail in order for them to let the recipients know that they could face trespassing charges.
Parents, and other adults attending these ballgames, also need to realize that they can be prosecuted for threatening or assaulting school officials. Violators can face jail time if they are convicted for threatening a school employee, Cochran said. There is a minimum — and mandatory — five days in jail and a possible fine of $50 to $100 dollars for assault on a school employee. Battery on a school employee carries a possible sentence of 10 days to 12 months in jail as well as a fine.
Of course, it shouldn’t come to that, if adults would just act like adults.
Sure you are expected to cheer for and root on your team or child. However, threatening or attempting to assault a school official at a ballgame is taking it way too far.
Parents must set a better example for their children.