Montana School Sports Fans Rally at Courthouse
Parents and fans of local high school sports have been asking health officials, school athletic directors and the governors office why they will not be allowed to attend fall athletics (and other school activities) in Yellowstone County. You can read about a Laurel moms Change.org petition that received over 25,000 signatures in a matter of days in a previous article HERE.
Many of these parents are questioning why other events (i.e. MontanaFair, Big Air Bash) have been allowed to happen with social distancing guidelines, while parents and fans cannot attend their high school or middle school students football game. Not every county in Montana is facing the same restrictions. For example, Montanasports.com is reporting that Gallatin County will allow two parents per student to attend games and other events.
We stopped by the rally at the Yellowstone County Courthouse Friday evening (8/28), where approximately 125 people had gathered. Grandmother Judy Calisto told us why she was at the rally.
I came out today because I have a lot of grandkids who are athletes, and I've supported them through the years, I have 17 grandkids and they wrestle and they run and they cheer and they lift weights, and I feel like I need to be there to support them. And if I can't be there, as a grandparent, I at least would like their parents to be able to be there. The kids need to have the support of their families with them.
Elsie Arntzen, Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Montana, was one of the guest speakers at the rally. Arntzen, a Republican, has been at odds with Democratic Governor Steve Bullock over schools mask mandates and what she feels has been a lack of communication between the Governor's office and the schools system. Elsie expressed concern about students health and rights as parents.
Our children come first. Our children are our number one. They are for you. They are for me, a state superintendent, and they should be for every single person in Montana. We must put our students first. So at the end of the conversation, there's going to be some more meetings and some more discussions about your rights.
Chris Moran, a Physicians Assistant for 21 years, also spoke at the event, saying that parents should be given the opportunity to show health officials that they can observe social distancing, wear masks at events and follow other recommended protocols to keep their kids safe.