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Blue Springs School District Loses Attempt To Block 100-Person Limit For Football Games

091120_blue springs high school stadium.jpg_carlos moreno
Carlos Moreno
Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium at Blue Springs High School will only hear the cheers of 100 parents and staff Friday night after a judge denied the school's request to allow more fans to attend the game than a current Jackson County Executive Order permits.

In its lawsuit, the Blue Springs School District said it was acting 'in the interest of the liberty of the general public.'

A Jackson County judge denied the Blue Springs School District’s request for an order to block Jackson County’s limit of outdoor crowds to 100 people because of the coronavirus.

Following a brief hearing, Judge Cory Lee Atkins rejected the school district’s argument that it would suffer “irreparable damage” if more than 100 people could not attend Blue Springs High School’s football game this evening.

The school district sued Jackson County Health Director Bridgette Shaffer on Wednesday after she and county administrator Troy Schulte threatened the district with sanctions.

Two weeks ago, the school district defied the county’s health order when it allowed 430 people to attend its football season home opener against Liberty High School.

Schulte and Shaffer threatened to ban all spectators for the rest of the season, order all athletes to be quarantined for 14 days after each game, and revoke school concession licenses.

“They really crossed the line when they threatened my son and his teammates and coaches and the cheerleaders essentially with a 14-day house arrest for doing nothing more than playing a game in front of their friends and family,” Rob Regier, the father of a Blue Springs South High School senior football player, said before the hearing.

In its lawsuit, the district said it was acting “in the interest of the liberty of the general public.” It noted that the Kansas City Chiefs were allowed to seat more than 16,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Shaffer’s arbitrary occupancy limitations imposed in the Order
upon sporting events, particularly those taking place in outdoor venues, are not only unfair to the District, but are unfair to all citizens of Jackson County and impose unreasonable restrictions that will cause irreparable harm,” the district argued in its request for a temporary restraining order.

Atkins’ denial of that request doesn’t spell the end of the lawsuit. It simply means that he didn’t find the school district had met its burden of proof that it would suffer irreparable injury unless the restraining order were granted.

Unless the district chooses to discontinue the suit or it is settled, the district will have the chance to prove its case on the merits in court.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
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