Can we no longer yell “KILL THE UMPIRE!”???

Word has it that some folks get pretty upset at high school athletic events.  Harsh words have been spoken, I hear.  There have even been reports of physical violence. So in keeping with the theme of school safety, the legislature addressed these issues by passing HB 2484, which will now be located at Texas Education Code 33.081(f-1). 

The first thing to be clear about in this new law is that it does not apply when Parent A cold cocks Parent B.  It applies if Parent A cold cocks the ref.  In the language of the statute, it applies when a “spectator engages in conduct that intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury” to a referee, judge, or “other official” in retaliation for the person’s performance of their duties. 

The next thing to notice is that it applies to any “spectator” at the event. So it’s not just parents, but they are the ones who are most often among the Usual Suspects.

Third, it’s not just football, obviously.  It’s any “extracurricular athletic activity or competition.”  The zebras, the blues, the people who blow the whistles, move the chains, and throw the yellow flags are all protected by this law. But not the brave theater teacher who grades the One Act Play.   

If there is an assault resulting in bodily injury to the “referee, judge, or other official” the person who committed the offense must be barred from future attendance, not just at the school where it happened, but at “any future extracurricular athletic activity or competition sponsored by the school district or the UIL.” The prohibition must be for at least one year, and no more than five. 

The language of “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury” is lifted from the Penal Code, but this statute does not require that the “spectator” be convicted of a crime. In fact, it says that “the district may determine the facts associated with the conduct.”  So some process needs to be set up to do that, but a district determination is sufficient. You don’t have to wait on the criminal process. 

The time-honored tradition of calling for the untimely demise of the umpire appears to be protected.  Sigh of relief.  Blue makes a lot of bad calls.


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Tomorrow: “I want my child to repeat 6th grade….”