High School Students are Maced by Police for Celebrating a Football Victory
It sounds like something out of Footloose, but unfortunately, this did not happen in a movie. Last week, police in a small town in Utah used pepper spray on high school students when the students began dancing a Haka celebration dance following a football game victory.
According to the Associated Press, a group of students and young adults who were related to a football player at Roosevelt Union High School started celebrating the team’s win by performing a traditional Maori dance. Evidently, the dancing occurred in a location that blocked the exit and prevented other people from leaving the field. Police asked the celebrators to move so that players and other fans could leave the field. However, they refused, so the police began using pepper spray in order to displace the crowd.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jason Kelly, a fan of the Roosevelt Union High football team. “It was totally unprovoked.”
The dancers were not the only ones who were affected by the pepper spray. Many players and bystanders were also affected, causing many to have watery eyes, sneezing, and other problems commonly associated with pepper spray.
Were the dancers really causing any harm? According to those who were there, they were not. In fact, they posed no security threats at all and many are now wondering why these police officers felt it was necessary to act the way they did.
“Five seconds into it, the police officers started coming at them with their clubs, telling them to make room,” said Jessica Rasmussen, another fan of the football team. “They started spraying Mace.”
Haka dances have become a popular pregame and postgame activity for many sports teams across the country. The trend started when the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team celebrated their wins in various games, the most recent of which was their win in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. However, if police are going to start reacting this violently to the dance, I think it might die out in popularity very quickly.