Last year as the COVID pandemic started to show up, it forced schools and other public gathering places to rethink the way they held events. For Seniors finishing up their final semesters many missed out on what would be the final year of their Highschool sports season. Many schools chose to go with virtual graduations to avoid public gatherings, as experts tried to get a hold of the situation and figure out what was the COVID virus.
Nearly a year later many things have seemed to flatline and confusion still runs rampant when it comes to hosting a public event. Some states seem to just let it run its course, allowing clubs, bars, and other venues to hold gatherings but with certain restrictions in place. Some states have chosen to go to a full lockdown and not allow any type of event.
What has been difficult on the adult population has been even more difficult for our youth population. Kids have had to adjust to learning either remotely or with on and off school days, going to school one day then doing it remotely the next. While the people around them try to figure out what’s best and how to approach it with safety in mind for all.
One aspect of this that has been addressed is school sports and extracurricular activities. BCHS has implemented a plan to allow the sports to go on and allow a select few tickets for those wanting to watch their child participate in these events. To help stay in line with the Governor’s directives the school started a ticket system.
The guidelines for tickets can be found here.
It clearly states that students in the band are allowed two tickets to give out to family members. On January 23 Kimberly Hawley, wanting to watch her son perform his solo part in the national anthem went to attend the game with her husband and children. She was told at the gate she did not have any tickets and they could not enter. When she demanded to talk to John English, Asst/ Principle and Athletic Director. It led up to an exchange of words. Both sides of the story can be seen below.
Feeling hurt and humiliated, she took her problem to social media to vent her concerns and frustration on the way the band kids have been treated. What followed next was an outpouring of support but also many people voicing negativity towards the athletes as well. Hawley later posted that she has no ill will towards the athletic department or those playing. Her main concern was the treatment of the band students, as well as the parents. The kids are supposed to receive two tickets for their parents to be able to attend the game. They have not received any tickets throughout the year. This was the main problem she was having, Many kids playing sports got four tickets and if they didn’t use them, they were given to friends of the family. People commenting online, felt as if those tickets should have gone to band members families and not people who had no vested interest in the game other than to spectate.
This brought into question the practices that have been put into place and whether they have been followed, as stated in the school’s own rules. Many people feel that they have not been followed and those participating on the sports side of the events have been getting extra tickets for families and friends, while those who just want to see their kid’s performance have been left to the wayside.
To make matters worse, both the winter band and choir concerts were held, where no person could attend the event in person. If the parents wanted to watch, it was done through the Livestream SWMT News provided as a service to the community. But due to the worry of copywrite, we could not publish these concerts or have them on an open feed to the public.
This incident has brought to light many of the problems our school administrators face in dealing with the pandemic, but it is also pointing out the inadequacies that some students are receiving while others are getting more “perks” in the matter. After a year of facing this pandemic and many drastic changes being implemented, there is hope as a vaccine is being distributed, and hopefully as more are vaccinated and public gatherings begin to open, we can learn from these past mistakes and approach this in a different manner that would allow a fair and level playing field. We will have better data to come to conclusions on how we hold these public gatherings instead of what seems like a few people making the rules and follow blindly. The current policies point out the need to have more than one person enforcing the rules so all can get their fair share.
We have provided the comments from both parties involved in this matter, we hope in the future the band parents will be allowed the two tickets per a student they should have been getting all along and some good can come out of the incident when the school begins to make changes to their COVID plans.
Assistant Principal John English comments on the event are as follows:
“An unfortunate incident took place at the BW Lodge gymnasium this weekend during the boys’ basketball game. I regret this incident took e place and would like to reassure our community that we value all our school activity programs and their associated parent groups. The incident was a result of an error in planning that will not take place again. The policy has been and will remain that all student groups performing will receive tickets for their families.”
Kimberly Hawley mother who was escorted from the gym.
I would like to address a serious issue we have currently at our high school. Saturday, 23, 2021, there were Beaver boys’ basketball games going on at B.W. Lodge. I have two children in the pep band that was playing for the Varsity Game. My son plays a solo part for the National Anthem. For those not aware, all students’ athletes get four tickets every game for family to come and watch them. Managers and cheerleaders get two tickets every game. Guess how many tickets the band kids get for family’s members to attend? ZERO! I tried to go watch and support our children, we were told sorry but there were no tickets for pep band families, and we were not allowed in. So, I went to speak to the Athletic Director, Mr. John English and said, “I am having a hard time getting my husband, daughter, and I in to watch our two children play in the pep band. “My son has a solo for the National Anthem.” He told me there were not tickets for band supporters for the game and so no we could not be there. I questioned why some sports families had many friends and other family members there to watch their kids? At this point he yelled “We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic! Those with multiple people watching got tickets from those who weren’t using them!”
Leftover tickets can be given out to anyone with the right connections, but not to parents of kids performing at the game? I was told that band is only a support. My kids enjoy playing for the games. They are happy to support their team and classmates. All students are an important part of the activities at this school, or so I thought.
He condescendingly said, “You want me to take all these basketball players off so we can have a band concert?”
I said, “Sure, I wasn’t allowed to come watch my kids’ band concert in December.”
I pointed out there was room up high where no one was sitting where we could sit with our mask on to watch our children. I was told no.