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March 25, 2024

The Student Section- One Year Later

Photo courtesy of Toavine Enterprises

On August 19th, 2022, CHS defeated Woodpile 47-0, a mark of a great season. This was an outstanding game, but an even more remarkable event, not for what happened within the field, but for what happened outside the field. As the season kicked off, students (particularly seniors) got quite rowdy, getting so wild that they blocked the accessibility ramp, posing a massive threat to safety for those who are disabled.

The school made the executive decision to move the student section farther down, near the scoreboard, where the band once stood. The band has been moved down to where the visitors sit. This decision, rightfully, angered students and parents alike. I covered this issue when it was relevant and ongoing in August of 2022, and gave the school credit for having a tough decision and it being a case of “pick your poison”. However, as time has gone on, it makes people wonder whether or not this issue was pressing and if this really was the best solution to the problem.

Beforehand, the students used to be in the perfect spot- right next to the plaza. It’s right next to the snacks, near the entrance, and in a perfect spot given how the students are going to be the ones getting up and socializing as opposed to sitting down and watching the game. Now the students are pushed down to the other end of those same stands, near the screen, with the band being directly across from the students on the opposing side.

On the students side, they are often blasted by the music played from the loudspeaker that is very close by. The section is cramped and packed so tightly it might burst. The game is much harder to see due to how close the section is to one of the end zones. Students have to go across the entire stands to get to the plaza, squeezing past tons of spectators, often making students feel like guests to their own school’s football games. As far as I know, students have to sit in the student section, or nearby. Given how they have to pay the same price as everyone else, this rightfully started controversy.

However, whatever inconveniences that students face are nothing compared to what the band faces. Being in the visitors section means that visitors have to deal with the band’s loud music constantly, discouraging visitors from
attending. However, when they do go, they sometimes throw things at the band, and are often disrespectful towards them, particularly if their team is losing.

Cade Compton, a member of the Pride of Collierville Band, said “a member of the opposing team threw a crumpled up napkin at the front ensemble.” I asked him if he thought this issue would get worse, particularly since the game against Houston is at home this year. He responded saying “I feel like there is a chance the situation will improve because” even though Houston and Collierville “are rivals we “have respect towards each other” and they are “mature enough” to “not throw things at each other”. He actually agrees with the change, since “we get to perform for the home side”.

I also reached out to Mr Burgess, the Percussion Director of the Pride of Collierville Band, for comment. He said that he “didn’t see anything happen, but [he] did hear comments from the other team” pertaining to being disrespectful. He thinks that the new location is “quieter being away from the Crazies” but it doesn’t “provide for as much energy”.

Finally, I reached out to Mr. Jones, who facilitated all this, asking him about these issues. He believes this solution is the best one to this issue, however he does “not tolerate any fans being disrespectful to our band or any spectators”. To help with this, he “position[s] administrators and SROs by the band to address any issues very quickly. Any fan who cannot follow the rules is removed from the game immediately.”

What was interesting, however, is that he personally has not seen, heard, or received complaints or backlash in the past year of this decision. In addition, he does “not see the student section as a restriction. All schools have a student section in which they contain the students in one area.” Since students aren’t forced to attend the games, “they can make the decision as to whether or not they want to attend and pay the ticket price.” He also believes “it’s only fair to charge all attendees the same price.”

Overall, this controversy is one that still has room to develop, but there might be a chance that students might get used to the way things are.

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About the Contributor
Jason Dockstader, Head Editor
Hey! I’m Jason Dockstader, the Head Editor of the Dragon Spirit Newspaper. I’m in 11th grade and have been involved with the newspaper for too long at this point. This is my 3rd year of writing for this paper and 1stas head editor, though I have been editor in the past. I’m involved with CHS’s theatre program (if you spell it theater, get out), enjoy playing video games and composing music. I’ve been accepted in National Honor Society, Beta Club, and am an Eagle Scout. Though I might be Head Editor, I still specialize in humor and my main goal is to put a smile on your face. Thanks for reading our newspaper!

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    JoshSep 28, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Great article. I do not agree with the mandatory student section. Frankly after attending and seeing how cramped they are at times it is imo a safety concern.