By JOHN T. WARD
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional football fans, stripped of their signs and giant heads for the first home game of the season, won’t be able to bring backpacks and bottles to the second and future games, school officials announced Thursday.
Citing last weekend’s bombing spree in Seaside Heights, New York City and Elizabeth, school officials have imposed new restrictions at Borden Stadium, officials said in a letter sent to community members Thursday.
From the letter:
Due to recent acts of violence in Ocean and Union Counties and New York City, RFH is now mandated to comply with new security protocols from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for large public gatherings, e.g. athletic events. The Rumson Police Department has coordinated efforts with RFH administration to ensure compliance with these new protocols. Please be advised:
- NO Bags (backpacks, duffel bags, etc.) are permitted into Borden Stadium;
- Small personal bags, e.g. purses, may be subject to search;
- NO Bottles and/or containers of liquid are permitted into Borden Stadium; and
- NO one with covered-faced costumes (i.e. masks and total body stockings) will be permitted into Borden Stadium.
It is our intention and obligation to ensure safe events for our students and spectators. If, at any event, you notice suspicious behavior, please notify RFH personnel or law enforcement immediately.
In addition, no one will be allowed to park a vehicle immediately adjacent to the the grandstand “unless we know who you are,” Superintendent Pete Righi told redbankgreen.
The new rules won’t bar fans wearing face paint “as long as it’s in good taste,” he said.
Officials at Red Bank Regional and Red Bank Catholic did not respond to inquiries Thursday about whether they have adopted similar restrictions.
Some Bulldog fans were already chafing about a crackdown imposed during the team’s home opener on September 9, when officials confiscated signs and oversized images of players’ faces from fans. The action was one subject of a student’s online petition that drew dozens of comments.
Righi defended the action, saying it was necessary to keep the school in compliance with New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association and Shore Conference rules banning signs that are not affixed to buildings and structures.
After a bye week last week, the 1-0 Bulldogs are scheduled to play at home against Holmdel tonight at 7 p.m.