Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Thursday marked the first high school football game at All High Stadium since Buffalo Public Schools instituted a new policy restricting who can attend games.
The new policy is intended to discourage disagreements, rowdy behavior and fights in the stands, as occurred during a recent Bennett-McKinley game.
Aymanuel Radford, a member of the group 'We The Parents', attended Thursday night's game and says attendance was lower than past games. "I think, as with anything when you implement new policies and things of that nature it's a little bit clunky, so the line was a little bit long," but otherwise it went well. The policy allowed each player and cheerleader to invite three people, adults could attend with ID, and children had to be accompanied by an adult.
Radford hopes the policy won't last too long or remain necessary, saying it's a reactionary policy that's not well-rounded. "I will hope that the superintendent and the school board will call in more stakeholders to talk about kind of how it looks," says Radford. He hopes the district will want to call parents, students, community members to really look at how we do a more well rounded policy that could be more effective.
Radford believes the district could take a better approach. "There was a similar situation that happened over in Ken-Ton where it was a huge brawl. They cleared the stands, and they finished the game and the next few days kept the policy in place. Because again, in my mind, you don't change the whole policy based off of one big fight," explains Radford. Last Thursday's McKinley-Bennett game was called at halftime after fights in the stands.
Radford believes to get real change, you have to get to the root of the problem. "I think that they would have looked at it and been more proactive with it, you know, playing security system in place, beefing up security a little bit," says Radford. He notes the district needs to realize what the students are going through. He also believes to ask student-athletes to put three people's names on the list and have security check the names is just too much.
Radford is also concerned this will discourage participation in high school sports. "I'm worried about any affected party, like a student who maybe wants to go scout Bennett, or a student who didn't have friends on the football team or the cheerleading team. I think we need to make sure we're talking about that group of students and making sure that we're not giving them inequity because of what a small group of students did," he notes.
He hopes the policy will go away soon.