Parents within Buffalo Schools push to have spectators attend high school games

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents within the Buffalo Public School District are urging school leaders to allow spectators during high school games. They argue not having people in the stands is doing more harm than good.

“Children feel like they’re not on the same playing field with the lack of opportunities,” said Robert Chapman whose son plays basketball at City Honors High School.

Section VI allows two people per student athlete to attend a home game in-person. In the BPS district no one can attend.

“You’re telling me we can’t figure out how to come out with a safe way to ensure that we can get 30 people in the gym to watch their children play basketball? We think it’s a reasonable request,” said Samual Radford III, who’s the co-chair of We the Parents.

Chapman said it’s messing with an athletes chance to succeed because recruiters can’t see them play.

“When a kid is playing a basketball game and they got friends who live in the suburbs or they got friends who play on other teams and they’re getting this exposure,” he said. “Once again based on their zip code, based on their social economic situation they are often seen as inferior.”

Although schools are streaming the games, parents say those videos aren’t good quality. Beyond that, parents want to be there in-person to catch their kid’s final game.

“We can at least give our families moments,” Member of We the Parents Duncan Kirkwood said. “To see their child play basketball. It might seem trivial to some, but that’s an important moment. Your last game in organized sports. The last moment you’re with your teammates. Where you can perform at your highest level in front of your family. That means something to our community members.”

Parents and community members are asking the district to at least allow two spectators per high school senior. They’re hoping the district can approve this request by Monday.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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