Staples fans warned of stepped up 'security' at Fairfield Ludlowe game
Updated 7:29 pm, Thursday, October 9, 2014
Fans attending Friday's football game between Fairfield Ludlowe and Staples high schools in Fairfield will have their bags searched and any beverages confiscated.
Fairfield Ludlowe Housemaster Greg Hatzis informed students and parents of the increased security that starts this week in his recent Headmaster's Report.
"A detail of security guards will be inspecting all bags as fans enter the gates, and beverages will not be allowed into the stadium," Hatzis wrote.
He also said Fairfield police will be monitoring the school grounds for alcohol use by anyone, no matter their age. Alcohol is not allowed anywhere on school grounds.
Contacted by the Fairfield Citizen on Thursday, Hatzis said the decision comes from the "larger picture" of increased safety and security at a range of school athletic events and social functions.
"We are mainly looking to protect the vast majority of students and families in attendance who come to the games for all the right reasons: cheer for our teams, enjoy a great contest, and be inspired by the performances of the athletes," Hatzis said. "We have seen a recent increase in inappropriate language from a handful of fans at some sporting events. While we do not necessarily attribute this behavior to alcohol consumption, we are not blind to the fact that some folks may still try to get away with it."
"We're not aware of any issues that should raise the public's concern," Police Chief Gary MacNamara said. The chief said the Police Department was not informed of the increased security at Ludlowe. "We will follow up with the school," he said Thursday.
For any high school varsity game, the town's high schools hire four police officers, according to Capt. Donald Smith. He, too, said he was not aware of the new Ludlowe policy and was also not aware of any serious problems at recent games.
There was an incident last week at a Fairfield Warde soccer game, where a parent from Greenwich High School was escorted off the field because of a profanity directed at a referee during a girls soccer game. There were no arrests and the game continued without further incident.
Hatzis' report to parents also said that "inappropriate or derogatory language will not be tolerated from our students and we know we can count on parents to be good role models. Poor language or behavior choices could result in removal from the stadium."
It was not immediately clear if the same policy would be applied to athletic events at Fairfield Warde High School. Warde Headmaster James Coyne did not return calls by the Fairfield Citizen for comment Thursday.
John Dodig, the headmaster at Staples High in Westport, on Wednesday had sent an email to Westport parents letting them know about the new policy and warning any local students planning to travel to Fairfield for Friday's game.
In his email, Dodig said he heard from Hatzis that "they have been having problems with their students at games and have hired a private security service to compliment (sic) the Fairfield police who are usually at games. He wanted me to know that ALL backpacks will be search and each person will be patted down, much as we have become used to at rock concerts."