HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Senior night was a lot quieter at North Mecklenburg High School after new security measures plummeted fan attendance.
Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools put new protocols into place Friday after weeks of fights breaking out at recent football games.
The sound of the bands and faint whistle from the refs were still audible, but that deafening cheer from the crowd was noticeably absent from the game.
Peering through a chain-linked fence, catching only glimpses of the action, was Christano Clinton. That’s how he watched North Meck’s final football home game of the season.
“I already got a ticket and everything,” he told Queen City News, “but I can’t even get in unless I got a parent.”
After weeks of fights taking place off the gridiron under the Friday night lights, North Meck and West Charlotte high schools implemented new entry requirements. At North Meck, those under 21 had to be accompanied by an adult 21 or older.
“I’m feeling upset,” Clinton said. “I’m feeling pretty mad because I didn’t spend $10 for nothing. I spent $10 to come support my brothers for their last game before we all go off to college.”
That last home game was a noticeably quiet senior night. One where some fans left prior to kickoff.
“Ain’t nobody was really here,” said North Meck student Selina Roy. “People still aren’t here. Usually at 7 o’clock everybody and their mama are already here. It’s just parents and not really much kids, so it’s like the atmosphere is a little low,” she continued. “It’s like senior night so that makes it kind of worse because everybody was kind of hyped for senior night.”
Some adults had a different perspective.
“We didn’t have these measures, didn’t need them when I was in high school,” said Balencia Gaither, “but I do rather err on the side of caution and make sure everyone’s safe and can come and enjoy and support the children so I’m all for it.”
Some thought the safety measures were needed.
“Need to keep the kids safe, and everybody that decides to come out to a game — keep them safe,” said one fan.
Even prior to the game, fans with North Meck entered through one gate while fans of Julius Chambers entered through another to make sure the opposing sides were kept apart.
Meanwhile, at West Charlotte, only fans with pre-sold tickets were allowed entry and students under 18 had to be accompanied by an adult.