Lyon County aims to end hostility at sporting events

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LYON COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Lyon County School District is taking measures to improve the atmosphere at its sporting events, implementing new rules to encourage fair play and camaraderie.

Below is a press release from the district:

A referee must end a high school football game early in the 4th quarter after multiple personal foul calls for cheap shots and a slew of profanities being hurled across the grid iron causing the visiting team to be escorted by police to their buses. Referees and officials endure profanity laden verbal abuse and threats to their own safety while simply performing the required actions of their job. A soccer coach is taken to the hospital after sustaining a fractured jaw from being punched in the face by an enraged parent of a player from the opposing team. A bench and stand clearing brawl ensues after a late hit out of bounds at a football game requiring multiple school and law enforcement officials to intervene.

These are all examples of unacceptable (and in some cases criminal) behaviors that occur at sporting events across the country and even internationally, right? Wrong… All of these behaviors and actions have two things in common. First, all have occurred during high school sporting events in the state of Nevada during the past six months alone. Second, all are in complete conflict with every school and school district’s established purpose, and that is certainly the case with the Lyon County School District (LCSD) according to their Board of Trustees and Superintendent, Wayne Workman.

“Our schools exist for the primary purpose of educating students in a positive, safe and respectful learning environment. All extra-curricular activities, including sporting events are an extension of the classroom and only exist to provide further educational opportunities and life lessons for our students. If that is the case, then why would we allow behaviors or actions at these events that we would not otherwise tolerate in the classroom?” stated Superintendent Workman.

As a result, there has been a call to action in the LCSD. After meeting with all of the high school and middle school principals and athletic directors, district officials have created a list of expectations for extra-curricular activities based upon the feedback from school officials. The list of expectations are as follows:

1) We will not tolerate any behavior in extra/co-curricular activities that we would not otherwise tolerate in the classroom.
2) We must have at least 5 announcements during the contest that are positive for the guest team.
3) We must have at least 3 announcements during the contest thanking the officials for taking time away from their families to allow students to participate in the contest. This includes an introduction of them by name at the beginning of the contest.
4) If no announcer is at the contest, then the coaches are responsible for introducing the officials by name and thanking them.
5) Each school will use their student leadership group (or other student group) to develop a welcome plan for the guest team(s).
6) When our teams are visiting another school, we ensure that our locker room, bench and bleacher/stands area is cleaner than when we arrived.

Athletic Directors at each school in LCSD will be contacting the athletic directors where their teams will be visiting to compete so they can explain the expected actions. In addition, coaches will be reporting back to athletic directors and principals to ensure implementation. Deputy Superintendent, Tim Logan explained, “We are confident that these adjustments to expectations will have a positive impact on our students and the culture of our schools. Our students always rise to the level of expectations set. However, we also need our parents and community members to help reinforce this expected behavior”. School principals in LCSD are also optimistic about the expectations. They are excited and grateful to have the support of the board of trustees and district officials during this process. As Silver Stage High School Principal, Patrick Peters reflected, “I want all of my students and families to feel safe and welcomed when they walk in my building. I take great pride in knowing that we are creating such an environment.

The board of trustees are also deeply committed to effecting positive change by virtue of policy revision. Three policies have been revised to ensure school and district officials have the appropriate authority to action as needed. LCSD policies IGDC: Student Conduct, Responsibilities, Regulations, and Eligibility for Extra-Curricular Activities; ING: Coaching; and KK: Civility all have proposed language changes. “We are confident that these policy revisions will allow our students and families the opportunity to better learn from and enjoy our extra-curricular activities. Working together, we can all make a positive difference”, said LCSD Board President Bridget Peterson.

Proposed revisions to the policies will undergo a second and final reading at the December 18, 2018 school board meeting at Silver Stage High School starting at 6:30pm. All meeting materials including the proposed policy changes can be found on the LCSD website and clicking on “Board Meetings-Agenda and Documents” under “Quick Links”.