Midpeninsula Post

Paly students face sanctions following Gunn football game incident

Paly students rush to Gunn stands during last week's game. (Yoochan An)

Palo Alto High School students are facing sanctions from the school administration and California Interscholastic Federation for poor sportsmanship following an incident last Friday where over 100 Paly students swarmed the Henry M. Gunn High School stands. 

In a live broadcast addressed to the Paly student body this morning, Principal Brent Kline announced that no student spectators will be allowed at the next Paly football game against Menlo School. This ban will not apply at the following football game, Paly’s homecoming game against Homestead High School, but will be extended if a league representative observes sportsmanship issues. 

Additional sanctions — including forced termination of participation in the Central Coast Section playoffs — may be imposed if further inappropriate behavior occurs at any Paly sporting event, Kline said. Sanctions will be finalized next week and may last the entire school year for all sports. 

“Our entire school is now at the mercy of the unfortunate few,” Kline said. “Members of our community, especially those that are involved in our sporting events, are waiting. They’re waiting for the next slip up by Paly.” 

Student Board Representative Johannah Seah condemned participating students’ actions at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“The taunting, derogatory comments, shouting and the storming of the Gunn student section was just incredibly obnoxious and disrespectful and inexcusable,” Seah said. “It was unnecessary and inconsiderate, not to mention unfair to all the hard-working students and adults who made the game possible, and to those who are just receiving unwarranted blame.”

Superintendent Don Austin said that while it’s clear some students realize the significance of the event, others don’t and can’t comprehend why there would be consequences. He said the sanctions are necessary for students as a learning experience. 

Spirit Week at Paly will remain relatively the same, though more details will be announced at a later date.

“Paly’s tradition, and now negative reputation, is that our student fans have a history of spectator inappropriate sportsmanship behavior,” Kline said. “We need to work together to end this inappropriate and destructive tradition of behavior, and help you understand the impact that this negative behavior has on our community, and most particularly, our school.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Paly will play Menlo-Atherton High School at its next game. Paly will play Menlo School.

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