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TPS parents react to district's decision to limit attendance at spring sporting events

The district cited several circumstances, including the current surge in COVID-19 and limited staffing, for the change.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Leaders with Toledo Public Schools made the decision this week to cut down on attendance for spring sporting events, and parents are having mixed reactions.

The district made the announcement on Thursday, but several parents didn't find out until Friday. 

"I heard about the limited seating this morning when I went on the website to get my son's mom her tickets," Gerry Porter said, a father of a Scott High School basketball player.

Limited attendance at Toledo Public Schools city league sporting events is now in effect. The district cited several circumstances, including the current surge in COVID-19 and limited staffing.

"At first I was like, 'Oh, here we go again.' But then, I am a nurse in the medical field, so I do know that the numbers are rising rapidly. So for the safety of our students and the rest of the community, we need to get these numbers down," parent April Washington said, noting she's all for the change.

But, there are others like Porter, whose son's mother wasn't allowed in the game because she had brought a 19-year-old with her.

"(They) just told her that she's, like, the twentieth parent they done turned around and I think they should at least wait until next week or something like that. So, all of this on the fly is just confusing and it kind of, like, makes you angry," Porter said. 

Then, there were those who questioned why students were still able to play sports, despite classes being canceled this week.

"When you start taking these things away from students, you're really affecting the social, emotional wellness of those students. So, we want students to be in place. We want to be able to provide them the opportunity to play sports and activities whenever possible," TPS Deputy Superintendent James Gant said.

Kajuan Matthews, a father of a Scott High School cheerleader, said there are both ups and downs to limited seating. However, he and the other parents believe things would be worse if they were to cancel sports altogether. 

"Crime rate would go up concerning juveniles, you know," Matthews said.

"It means the world because last year when we went through it, it was terrible; unorganized. So, for them to understand we still just want to give our kids something, especially with all the violence going on, so we want to keep them out of the streets and in the gym," Porter said. 

Right now, ticket sales are limited to four per athlete. 

No student tickets will be sold. 

When entering the game, the ticket holder must present their ticket and a valid photo ID that show they are at least 21 years old. 

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