Sports fans could find themselves banned from school events for one calendar year if they behave inappropriately, according to an existing policy of the Effingham Unit 40 Board of Education.

At the school board’s October meeting, board member Jim Whitehair raised concerns about Effingham sports fans conducting themselves in an “improper” manner at a recent football game and asked for the board to consider policies that would stand behind the district’s push for good sportsmanship.

With that in mind, board members looked over an existing policy Monday night that outlines behavior for not only spectators for athletic and extracurricular events, but also visitors to school property.

According to the policy, anyone who behaves in an unsportsmanship manner during an athletic or extracurricular event may be ejected from the event. Also, a person could be denied admission to school events for up to a year, which would be decided upon by the school board following a public hearing where the person would be allowed representation.

Improper behavior includes vulgar or obscene language, possessing or being under the influence of any alcohol beverage or illegal substance, possessing a weapon, fighting or otherwise striking or threatening another person, failing to obey the instructions of a security officer or school district employee, and engaging in any activity that is illegal or disruptive.

Superintendent Dan Clasby said administrators at the schools will be responsible for seeing that spectators follow the policies, and he added signs will be placed in some of the district’s larger gyms to remind spectators of the policy.

“They are modeling some behavior that we are concerned about,” said Clasby, adding sports spectators should be setting a good example for students.

“We still have to deal with it, and we will deal with it,” said Clasby of the school’s responsibility.

Kim Wiedman can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 128 or

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