Outside food, drink banned at schools sports venues

Howard stadium concessions still OK

December 04, 2007|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,SUN REPORTER

The Howard County school system has officially banned outside food and beverages from high school gymnasiums and stadiums.

The effort, according to the school system, is to thwart alcohol consumption and keep the facilities clean. The ban for gymnasiums begins immediately, while the stadium ban starts in March when the spring sports season begins.

Food and beverages purchased at a stadium concession stand will still be allowed, but no food or beverages will be allowed in gymnasiums at all. The only exception will be food and drink necessary for participating athletic teams.

Many of Howard County's 12 high schools adopted a beverage ban at their stadiums this year to combat what one school official called an alarming level of drinking among students.

"Most of the schools have elected to do this on their own," said Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for the school system. "This makes it consistent across all schools. No matter if you are a visiting team, you will know what is going on."

Mike Williams, coordinator of athletics for Howard County schools, said he expects a favorable response from the public.

"It is for everyone's well-being and safety," Williams said.

The Baltimore City school system has a similar rule that prohibits fans from bringing beverages to sporting events. Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford counties do not have systemwide rules prohibiting outside beverages at school sporting events, officials said.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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