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At NRHEG we are in our second year of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). It’s an effort to change the culture of our school and is being implemented by many schools across the state and country. We’ve seen some progress in the atmosphere of the school, but still have a distance to travel.

For the month of February, our focus at the secondary building is on proper behavior at events such as athletic contests, plays, concerts, and assemblies. These are lessons that cannot just be taught to our students, but to the adult population as well.

Before every home game, I ask people to remember their Panther Pride and be positive, be respectful, be responsible, and be safe. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked!

Being positive means just that. Don’t be negative about things occurring in a game or performance. Applaud good plays in a game. Give credit to a student who sings or plays a song well. Give a standing ovation when appropriate. When students do well in a play, a standing ovation is a nice touch by the crowd, acknowledging the many hours they put into practicing.

Try not to dwell on the negative. Players make mistakes on a field or court. A wrong note might be hit. Someone might forget their line. These things happen; we always have to remind ourselves that these are kids.

Officials and coaches make mistakes too. As I’ve stressed before in this column, unless you have been in that particular position at that level, keep your grumbling to a minimum. I like to say when I officiate or umpire that I miss one call a game; I just won’t tell you which one! Standing up and shouting negative things won’t change what has happened on the floor.

Being respectful goes another step. Certainly, it goes hand in hand with what I just mentioned. But it encompasses other areas as well. I’m very bothered when the pep band plays the school song and I look around and see people, especially students, sitting. Be proud of your school and be respectful of other schools when you are on the road. A school song being played means that you should rise, and if it’s your home game, clap along.

We should always be respectful of the national anthem. When “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played or sung, shut your phone off, remove your hat, stand, and be respectful of the flag. I recently had a discussion with different people about singing the anthem. Many people agree you might try singing if the band or a recording is playing it, but that you should respect a soloist and give that person the full stage.

Respect performers as well. Don’t get up and leave when your child is done performing. Be appreciative of all the kids playing or putting on a show. It’s also a good idea to avoid leaving the room unless there is an emergency as it can disrupt what is happening on stage.

Being responsible falls on both adults and students. Listen, our gym is small; there isn’t much room on the sidelines. Parents absolutely need to be responsible for their children. Don’t go tracking across the corners of the court during a game unless there is a stoppage. Know where your kids are. I don’t know how many times over the years the clock has been accidentally unplugged because kids are running around under the bleachers.

Students and adults should be responsible for their mess as well. It’s not all right to say, “Well, the janitor can clean it up.” Pick up your garbage before you leave. Our custodians do a good job, but treat your garbage at a game as you would at home; I hope you don’t dump an empty pop bottle on the ground there.

Being safe can be an offshoot of responsibility. When you or your child cut across the floor, it can impact play. A player or official could get hurt. Plus, especially in winter, you can’t help but track snow and dirt across the floor. Please wait until a stoppage of play to go in and out of the gym, and then stay off the court. I’ve actually seen a coach tell people they couldn’t walk in front of him during game play and wanted to applaud him.

All these things go hand in hand. If we all work on them together, it makes games, concerts, and performances a great experience. Show YOUR Panther Pride at the next NRHEG event you attend!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is intransigent, which means unwilling to compromise, as in, “The unruly fan was intransigent when asked to calm down and take his seat; that is, until the official threw him out of the game.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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