The Upper Darby School District is banning the general public from winter sporting events after a brawl at a basketball game led to several arrests.
Under the new rule, only students with a school-issued ID will be allowed to buy sports tickets, and both home and away teams will be required to submit a list of family members who will be attending games.
The rule, which is already in effect, comes on the heels of a Dec. 17 brawl that spilled from the stands, to the court and onto the streets during a boys basketball game at Upper Darby High School.
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“It was embarrassing for the school district,” UDSD Superintendent Daniel McGarry said.
McGarry said the district is acting in the interest of student safety, but others fear the new guidelines will have a negative effect.
“It’s stopping people from coming to sporting events. People want to see the teams play,” Upper Darby High School student Hamzah Sylla said.
The move, though, is reflective of fears throughout the region following violence at high school games.
In Philadelphia, two teens were injured when a 17-year-old allegedly opened fire during a football game between Simon Gratz High School and Imhotep Charter High School in October of last year. A month later, a 10-year-old boy was shot and killed when shots rang out during a football game in New Jersey.
“By no means are we trying to prevent people from participating. We’re just trying to make it as safe as we can for everybody,” McGarry said.
He added that the district will evaluate the effectiveness of the new rule at the end of the winter sports season.