From staff reports
Corry’s athletic department and administration looked into reports of offensive behavior toward athletes and spectators by North East students during a football game on Sept. 10.
The alleged incidents occurred when North East hosted Corry for a varsity football game.
Corry Area School District Superintendent Sheri Yetzer addressed the situation during a school board meeting on Monday night and shared information with board members.
“Our AD (athletic director) had received some concerns from parents and coaches that some of our student athletes as well as some fans that attended the North East football game last Friday were treated not so well by North East,” Yetzer said during the meeting.
Corry’s Athletic Director Mike Daniels reached out to the AD in North East to share those concerns.
“I sent a message to Brian Dewey at North East, who’s the AD, and said we’ve been receiving some phone calls from our people,” Daniels told The Corry Journal. “It seems like your student section fans were being rude, saying some pretty nasty things to our players and our cheerleaders. He forwarded that concern onto his superintendent.”
North East School Superintendent Dr. Michele Hartzell, while taking quick action, noted the behavior is not the norm.
“The North East School District prides itself on the reputation of outstanding academics and character,” Hartzell said in an email. “Unfortunately, we had a handful of students not behaving to the standards and expectations of a Grape Picker and this will not be tolerated.
“Please note that the administration team, coaches, and director of athletics swiftly addressed the concerns brought forth by the Corry school district, as well as sent a letter of apology to the district.
“Additionally, we will be changing some protocols we currently have in place and will have additional staff at our events.
“Finally, I want to close by saying that the majority of our students exhibited excellent behavior and showed outstanding school spirit.”
Hartzell personally apologized in a letter that was read aloud during Corry’s school board meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.
The letter reads: “Dear Sheri, it has come to my attention that during the football game this past Friday, Sept. 10, spectators, athletes and students of the North East School District behaved inappropriately toward students, athletes and spectators visiting from the Corry Area School District.
Would you please accept my sincere apologies for these unfortunate incidents on behalf of the North East School District and North East school board of directors. We’re embarrassed and this behavior is not representative of who we are or what we expect from North East students and fans.
Please be assured that immediate steps will be taken to address this situation and to ensure this will not be repeated in the future.”
Yetzer told the board that North East acknowledged the behavior and has taken steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“They have handled those concerns that were brought forth and I thought that was very nice of her to respond with a letter to us. I just wanted to share that with you,” Yetzer said at the meeting.
Daniels told The Journal he was pleased to hear North East is handling the situation.
“They definitely took it seriously over there and I believe they’re taking action,” he said.
Corry parents and spectators posted complaints about North East’s behavior on Facebook. One person claimed North East students spit on Corry players, but that report is unconfirmed, according to Daniels.