Maine South Restricts Middle Schoolers From Football Games

Middle Schoolers not ready for some football? After experiencing trouble from kids under high school age, Maine South bars them from attending games without an adult.


When the Maine South Hawks kick off against New Trier in Park Ridge tonight, middle school and junior high students will no longer will be permitted in the stands unless they are accompanied by adults.

The policy change was announced in a letter from Maine South Principal Shawn Messmer emailed Sept. 17 to parents of students in middle schools that feed into Maine South.

“We have tried our best in the three years that I have been at Maine South to maintain a safe venue for our middle school spectators as they are often more interested in the social aspects of such an event than the actual viewing of the game,” Messmer said. “Recently, we have experienced situations involving our middle school guests that jeopardize their safety.”

Earlier: Maine South penalized for bad behavior

Maine Township High School District 207 communications director David Beery said there had been no major incidents, just an ongoing issue with middle-school age children acting the way middle-school students do: running up and down the stands, tossing balls back and forth and in general horsing around.

“The Maine South Administration has expended a disproportional amount of energy and manpower overseeing those middle school spectators engaging in activities that are unacceptable at a sporting event,” Messmer said. “In short, we expect our middle school students to sit in the stands with the rest of the community and watch the game.”

Beery acknowledged that while there isn’t much age difference between an eighth-grader and a high school freshman, Maine South security staff members have an ongoing relationship with the school’s students and have more disciplinary options with them.

The problems with middle schoolers' behavior got worse after lights were installed in the Maine South football stadium in 2009, Beery said.

However, both Maine East, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"maine-east-high-school"} --> and has signs up saying children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, while Niles West has no such signage, said District 219 community relations director Jim Szczepaniak. However,


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