District bans students from Paly-Gatos games

Gracia Hmelar and

Students from Palo Alto High School and Los Gatos High School are banned from attending sports games between the two schools through May, according to a joint statement issued Thursday by the principals of the two schools.

The email addressed ongoing sportsmanship issues that have occurred at recent Paly-Los Gatos games, and stated that both schools’ administrations and athletic directors met to discuss actions that will be implemented before the end of the school year.

The growing rivalry between the two schools was the focus of a story in the December edition of Paly’s Viking sports magazine.

The first of the principal’s actions is that for the remainder of the school year, all students from Paly and Los Gatos, excluding family members of athletes, are banned from attending sports events between the two schools.

Second, a “Positive Sportsmanship Summit” will be held on April 29 at Fremont High School, involving student-athletes from both schools, athletic directors, the Santa Clara Valley Athletic league commissioner and the Central Coast Section commissioner in order to promote positive sportsmanship.

Finally, administrators will take disciplinary actions against any student who posts negative or disrespectful content on social media that triggers a negative reaction between either school before any athletic event.

“Students who commit such acts may forfeit the right to attend any and all future contests,” the statement says.

This news has angered some students who enjoy supporting Paly students at sporting events.

Freshman Rachel Ellisen, a player on the girls’ basketball and lacrosse teams, said she feels it is unfair for the administration to punish everyone when the negative behavior is only coming from a small group of students.

“I was really mad when I found out that we [students] weren’t going to be able to go the games anymore,” Ellisen said. “I really enjoy going with my friends and supporting our school. I don’t get why they have to punish everyone, not just punish the few people who have done stuff.”

On the other hand, some students agree that the unsportsmanlike behavior has gotten out of hand and has taken away the attention from the games.

Junior Zoe Baghaie said that although she enjoys going to games, she understands the schools’ decision to implement restrictions on students.

“It’s a lot of fun going to the games and supporting Paly athletics, but the sportsmanship has gotten really out of hand, and really takes away from the actual game,” Baghaie said. “I understand why admin would want to put restrictions on students who act out.”

The complete statement is included below.