RHS Revamps Game Night Protocols

Starting on Saturday, November 20, there are new safety protocols in place for all athletic events at Richmond High School. 

Students do not have to pay for a ticket, but they must have their student ID with them to enter. However, middle school students must bring a guardian and do not receive free admission. People must enter events through the Tiernan Center west entrance on the tennis court side.

These new precautions are being enforced because of an event that happened on November 12 at the girls basketball game. In the closing minutes of that game, there was a blackout in the gym and a fight in the bleachers.

“Towards the end of the game, we had some adults get into a physical argument in the entryway at the south end of the court. It was a physical altercation,’’ Principal Rae Wooply said. ‘’There were some students that got involved but it started with adults that had come into watch the game.’’

The game was completed, without anyone in the gym, after all, attendees were evacuated.  

“The game was finished without anyone in the building,” Athletic Director Warren Cook said. “They just decided everyone needed to go so they could gain control of everything and try to figure out what just happened. When there is a mass crowd of people that’s watching it’s hard to tell what’s going on. We just knew we needed to take care of it.”

Because of this, the administration decided to cancel another girls home game that was scheduled on the following night (November 13).

“We had to re-cover everything that happened,” Cook said. “It was best to postpone Saturday night so we could get things under control. A lot of people were shaken up. Many people didn’t know what was going on. It was a traumatic experience. To be able to look at the mental health for everyone that was there was very important as a mental health toll took place. I just don’t think coming in on Saturday night we would’ve had a chance to talk to everyone and make sure everyone was okay.” 

Woolpy dispelled rumors that the blackout was related to the fight on November 12.

“It was actually a power surge on the west side of town,” she said.

Administrators have spent the previous week working on plans for future events at Tiernan Center this year.

“It’s a shame that such a small fraction of people ruined a great evening,” Cook said. Things were going very well and it was fun. It was a shame that students and people in our community had to cause this disruption. 

“We’ll have plenty of security and [we’ll] put together some plans.” 

Cook explained in detail exactly what future games are going to look like to ensure safety, including separate entrances and more security.

“We have a lot of protocols put in place for the games,” Cook said. “I want it to be very safe atmosphere. I still want it to feel like a high school athletic event. We’ll just need more security. Putting people in different places allows for people to be there if a fight breaks out, they’ll be there immediately.’’

Wooply said she, and her staff, will continue to work to ensure a fun environment for students, fans, and athletes. 

“It’s embarrassing for our community and school but the most important thing to remember is that this is not a reflection of who we are,” she said. “This should not define us. We will do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again. We also need to have cooperation from adults who will not behave like this at any of our high school events.”