Tak Stadium’s security situation

Image provided by author. Top: Students waiting in line to enter the Homecoming game.

On August 26, the first football game of the 2022 season, two different incidents happened against the Washington High School cheerleaders. During the second quarter of the game, an unknown spectator threw a wet tampon at a cheerleader, who wishes to remain anonymous. When interviewed, a different cheerleader, Vivian Lau, stated, “I’m not going to say who, but it did happen. I don’t know who it was, but it wasn’t people from our school.” During the same game, the belongings of the cheerleaders were searched by people who should not have had access to them. “None of us really knew who it was but my friend … when she came back to get something from her bag, everything was messed up and thrown out,” says Lau. When asked about where their belongings were stored, Lau stated they were placed on Tak Stadium’s running track, on the far side from the rest of Washington High School’s campus. “This year it’s been more than last year, but I guess we have to keep our bags close to us because if not, people are going to go through it,” she said.

Amid these recent events, concerns for security on campus outside of school hours have arisen. As people are finding more ways to get in through unauthorized means, the issue grows, with an anonymous messenger saying it is possible to hop the fence into Tak behind the visiting team’s locker room. Campus supervisor Gilbert Mendoza often attends football games and has attended several of the games in the current season, as well as several others in previous years. In an interview with The Hatchet, he noted that “we had some kids trying to jump the fence. We had a student crawling through the fence and a break in the fence. We’ve had some incidents of people smoking in the stands, but it’s very minor stuff.” While many of these incidents are noticed and stopped, the number that are missed bring the current security practices into question.

Tak has previously implemented a no-bags policy, with posted signs forbidding backpacks and similar containers from being brought in. When asked about how security has changed in the 2022 football season, the Principal of Washington High School, Robert Moran, stated that future games will have a member of campus staff watching areas where trespassing is common. “There is a very low fence where Tak backs up to Centerville Park. In the future, either an administrator or a teacher on duty or a supervisor will be placed on that side of Tak to make sure that trespassing doesn’t take place from that side.” He believes similar behavior is unlikely to continue, saying, “As we are able to establish expectations for correct behavior and deal with it as we come across it and make people aware of the rules around how you’re supposed to attend a football game at Tak, I do believe that behavior will get better as time goes on.” This seems to be a shared sentiment, as when asked about the situation, Mendoza stated, “it’s probably an isolated incident.”

Richard Pang is a senior at Washington who was born and raised in Fremont. He is a reporter in his first year with The Hatchet. You might find him looking at aspects of student culture that get overlooked. On his off hours, you can find him organizing events on online platforms or doing some research on whatever topic caught his interest this week. He’s not sure where life will take him or how college will go, but there’s no fun in knowing what will happen.

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