Byron Coach Boyer and Stillman Valley Coach Lalor
Byron Coach Boyer and Stillman Valley Coach Lalor – at the coin toss – courtesy Byron Schools

Two Illinois schools who live in neighboring communities are working together to set some things straight after a group of students from both sides let things get out of control  during their recent football game (September 8th).

Byron-Stillman Valley

When Byron and Stillman Valley get together in a Big Northern Conference football game every year there is a lot of emotion on both sides of the field.  For sure this a game they both want to win. This year it went in a direction that no one expected, off the field and in the stands.

Accusations from the game:

  • Byron fans accused Stillman Valley fans of burning their mascot (Tigers) in effigy and verbally insulting them in the stands.
  • Meanwhile two Byron students took to Snapchat after the game to desecrate a dead bird, biting off the head of the dead bird.

These actions were something that neither school’s administrations were pleased with or approved of what took place.  That’s when the two school district superintendents, Byron’s Dr. James Hammack and Stillman Valley’s Dr. Phillip J. Caposey, decided they would confront the situation head on.

They released this statement together the next day –

High school sports teach wonderful lessons and help to create memorable experiences for student-athletes and fans alike. When the behaviors of students and fans move beyond that of competition, enthusiasm, and good sportsmanship, however, such behaviors are not acceptable within either of our districts.

Please be advised that our administrations are working together and investigating the incidents of poor behaviors stemming from our Friday evening football game. Additionally, we will reiterate to our students and fans about what it means to be good sports and to remind them that our expectation is for all students and fans to act with dignity and class at all times.

SSN asked both Superintendents for an update eight days after the game had taken place.

Stillman Valley’s Dr. Phillip J. Caposey

I cannot speak for Dr. Hammack, but I was pleased with the response of both administrations and with the reaction of the students involved in the events. To be clear, pleased with their response to being held accountable- not of the original actions.

Byron’s Dr. James Hammack

I believe that both Districts addressed issues of student conduct in an appropriate and professional manner.

How these two schools handled what took place should reinforce the expectations of what is now expected of students and fans at future sporting events for years to come.  This is a lesson that needs to be learned by anyone who attends a local high school sporting event.