Update Monday, Oct. 12, 2020
At its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, the Caldwell Board of Trustees approved banning an Emmett patron from its property for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. The patron who refused to wear a face covering and loitered on school grounds. The letter to the patron is available here: http://go.boarddocs.com/id/csd132/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BU6PC961A5C7
Update Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020
It was determined that Emmett was the winner of the Oct. 2, 2020 football game with Caldwell High School. The game was ended at half time after a threat to the school was made.
Update Monday, Oct. 5, 2020
We've field some questions about the threat made against Caldwell High School and about visitors who refused to wear masks and remained on school property. Here are the answers:
Who at the school was first notified of the Oct. 2 threats that came from 911 calls to Canyon County Dispatch?
Caldwell High School Principal Anita Wilson was notified by Caldwell Police Department Officer Eric Philips. Assistant Principal Debbie Dawson also was present. This was after half time had begun.
Who made the decision to cancel the game once the calls came in? Was it the police or did the police notify you (or other school officials) what happened and then school officials made the decision?
The school principal and district superintendent made the decision to cancel the game after receiving information about the threat to the school. We followed our district safety protocols to go into reverse evacuation and get students inside and have patrons leave the area.
Several Caldwell High parents reported that the principal approached the Press Box just before halftime and that right after the band was finished playing, the announcer came on the loudspeaker and told everyone to evacuate. Was the decision from either the police or school officials to wait until the band was done and then evacuate or was that a coincidence or were the parents mistaken on the timeline?
The information about the threat came while the band was playing. After considering the information from police about the threat, the principal and superintendent made the decision to cancel and then discussed next steps to notify staff to evacuate the field.
Some visitors made a choice to not enter the game and wanted to watch the game from outside along a fence on Caldwell High School property, why isn't this allowed?
Caldwell High does not allow individuals to loiter in this area of school property. The district administration monitors this area during every game. The group was asked to leave and go to the adjacent city park.
How is the mask policy policed after spectators enter the Warren "Strong" Sports Complex?
Per our school board approved athletic policy regarding face coverings and spectators, masks are required for entry for everyone.
During the game, administrators from each school are responsible for monitoring their spectators - visitors, visitor side; home, home side.
CHS administration monitored the home side stands several times during the evening of 10.2.2020 ensuring masks were being worn.
A small group of visitors refused to wear face coverings as required of spectators on our campus. They were denied admittance to the game. These visitors were directed to a neighboring park where they could watch without face coverings.
This group did not leave and instead loitered in an restricted area on our property and refused to leave when asked to do so.
Near half time of the game, the Caldwell High School and Caldwell School District were advised by Caldwell Police onsite at the game about a threat against the school called into 911.
Safety is our top priority and we take threats seriously. The decision was made the call to end the game to ensure the safety of the athletes, staff, and spectators.
BY NICOLE FOY
The Caldwell School District shut down a football game against Emmett High School on Friday night after Ammon Bundy refused to wear a mask — and multiple unidentified callers made threats to the school over the situation.
District rules require parents and fans — only a limited number can attend each game — to wear masks and follow social distancing, according to Marisela Pesina, the chair of the Caldwell School Board.
Bundy, who appeared at the Friday night contest without a mask, refused to wear a mask or leave Caldwell High property. He may face criminal charges for trespassing, according to Caldwell Police Department spokesman Joey Hoadley
“A small group of visitors refused to follow the safety requirements, including wearing face coverings, and were denied admittance to the game,” district spokeswoman Allison Westfall wrote in an email to parents that was also provided to the Idaho Statesman. “They were told they could watch from Brothers Park. Instead, they continued to loiter on the property and became disruptive.”
Caldwell police officers were called to the scene, but school officials decided to stop the game at halftime after “a threat to the safety of the school was made,” according to the email.
“Canyon County dispatch began receiving multiple calls from unidentified callers threatening acts of violence at the game stemming from the dispute over masks,” Hoadley clarified Saturday morning, “at which time the decision was made to cancel the game for the safety of students and fans.”
When the game was stopped, Emmett was winning 35-0.
Bundy streamed live video of himself during the first half, asked viewers to watch over him and at one point invited others to join him at the school.
“I’m very disappointed that our kids lost the chance to be able to play a Friday night football game,” Pesina told the Statesman. She said she did not arrive at the school until later. “Our parents have been following the rules and it makes me sad that because someone wants to prove their point, we had to stop our game.”
Bundy and others affiliated with him have appeared at several public events and meetings across Idaho in recent months to protest the state’s coronavirus regulations, and is best known for being tried but not convicted in two federal standoffs. In August, he was arrested — twice — after incidents at the Idaho Statehouse. He has two sons who play football for Emmett.
Caldwell football coach Steve Fleshman said he and the players were in the locker room at halftime when they received instructions to stay inside. Although he missed the beginning of the incident, he said Bundy approached him and the Emmett coach shortly after.
“Ammon approached both of us and was livestreaming both of us,” Fleshman said. “He was giving his coach a hard time.”
Bundy documented portions of the night’s events in a series of videos posted and streamed live to his Facebook page. In one video published after the game, around 10 p.m., Bundy appears to argue with an Emmett football coach and say Caldwell police officers told him they would not enforce the school district’s mask rule. In another video, one unidentified Caldwell officer asks Bundy to leave but says they “are not going to physically remove” him.
Bundy was told before the game was stopped that he could cost Emmett a win and potentially a playoff spot.
“When are you going to stand for freedom, Coach?” Bundy demanded, apparently standing outside a fence around the football field. “When are you going to do that? Is it worth a football game? Yes, it is worth it.”
Some angry parents confronted Bundy as they left the stadium. He was asked if the game stoppage involved him, and he said he thought it did.
“I will not put on a mask! I have a right not to put on a mask!” he yelled back at the parents and fans. “You guys should be brave enough to do the same thing.”
Fleshman emphasized that he had no hard feelings for Emmett and did not associate Bundy’s actions with their team.
“We hold Emmett in high regard in what they do over there,” Fleshman told the Statesman. “We know that’s not (the Emmett coach’s) situation and it’s something he has to deal with on their end. It’s sad the kids have to suffer because of that.”
Emmett School District Superintendent Craig Woods called the incident “incredibly sad” for the Emmett team, high school and community.
“They were winning the game, they’ve been having a great season, and they’ve worked hard,” Woods wrote in an email statement late Friday night. “We were the visitors. We should respect the host’s policies and procedures. Whether you agree or not when it comes to masks, the football team should not have to suffer the consequences. I’m proud of the Huskies. They did not ask for this.”
Hoadley said Caldwell officers have “discretion based on the totality of the circumstances” whether to make a physical arrest, issue a summons or send a report. He said police officers are present at school functions as a criminal deterrent and to maintain order on behalf of school administrators. Because Canyon County does not have a mask mandate, Hoadley said police cannot use force to enforce something only in school district policy and not in state or city ordinance.
“Officers prefer not to use physical force for non-violent crimes unless it is absolutely necessary,” Hoadley wrote in an email response to questions from the Statesman. “In this instance, officers opted to provide warnings on behalf of the Caldwell School District and once they were not heeded, route a criminal report describing the incident to the prosecuting attorney’s office for a charging decision for criminal trespass.”
Police are conducting a separate investigation into the threats made through dispatch. Suspects may also face criminal charges.
“Our priority is the safety of our children and the safety of our community,” Pesina said.