Student Section Chant Leads to Consequences


Kierstin Gay

Cheering students were asked to sit the first quarter of the next home game due to the inappropriate language used towards the other team. “You know the home student section is a lot different than an away student section,” Mr. John Heckenlively said. “Since it’s the whole student section, a lot of the kids that were cheering wouldn’t be at the next two away games. The punishment would be the next home game you guys would sit.”

An unexpected event occurred in the GHS student section during the homecoming game against Creighton Prep on Sept. 9. The section stood up and yelled an inappropriate sentence at the end of the game that created some commotion within the administration and the student section. Seniors, such as Avery Swanson, tried to take blame and suggest other punishments for these actions, but were unsuccessful.

The inappropriate cheer was focused on Creighton Prep being an all-boys school.

“We waited until the fourth quarter and we ended up doing it anyway, so that was our bad. (Mr.) Heckenlively then took the board and said that we will be sitting the first quarter of the next home game, no cheering, no standing,” Swanson said.  “I emailed the admin and said I was willing to do extra NHS hours or detention or I’ll sit the first quarter and they said ‘We’ll tell you right before the game if you can sit or stand.’ I talked to (Mr.) Jepsen 15 minutes before this game and he said ‘You can stand but you’re going to have to pick up all the trash after.’”

Due to the section’s inappropriate words deep in the fourth quarter, assistant principal Mr. John Heckenlively did not remove students at the time, but made decisions to penalize the section as the next home game instead.

“In a nutshell, students cheered something they were told multiple times not to cheer,” Mr. Heckenlively said. “If there’s one student who does something inappropriate in the crowd, in the student section specifically–I have removed plenty of kids who I saw or yelled something they weren’t supposed to–we remove that kid and they go and sit somewhere else for a while like a ‘timeout’ and when we feel they are ready to rejoin the student section they can do that. We’ve kicked kids out of events, and we’ve also had the entire student section sit down at times and not cheer. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it has happened in the past.”

Although the administration was secure all week with their punishments, the section was ultimately allowed to stand and cheer the entire home game against Bellevue West. The section is allowed to do so as normal for the remainder of the football season depending on behavior.