Elite school hires police officers for GPS games
An elite private school has hired police officers to protect teachers from parents angry about COVID-19 spectator limits at GPS football games.
The extreme security move has been slammed as "intimidating" by Brisbane radio personality Robin Bailey, who attended her son's soccer match on The Southport School on the Gold Coast on the weekend.
"I thought the officers were there to monitor social distancing but they told me they were there to protect staff because parents were furious that only parents could attend, not siblings.
"The security was next-level intimidating and security guards were stopping cars arriving at the grounds and directing spectators to a sign-in station where staff were telling people who could come in and who could leave.
"Some people were told to take their kids away, which meant parents couldn't watch the games either. It's nuts," Ms Bailey said.
"And why? There was massive space and everyone was super respectful and the only thing causing angst was over-the-top 'special operations' security."
Another parent said the school's response was "severe and unnecessary".
"We are in a pandemic not a fascist takeover, and this is GPS sport, for goodness' sake," they said.
TSS headmaster Greg Wain defended the police presence.
"Teachers should not be berated for doing their jobs," Mr Wain said.
"If people want to come in large groups, it's easier to get the police here.
"Most parents are delightful and totally understand the restrictions but others get pretty passionate, so it's about protecting our staff."
Under GPS rules during COVID-19, only two parent/guardian spectators are permitted per player in football, rugby or tennis matches.
Mr Wain said even though he would "love to have a crowd of 4000 like last year", the priority was keeping the sporting competition going for students.
"It's not about keeping the parents happy but keeping the boys playing, which is really important for their mental health during COVID," he said.
"We can't have extended families and friends watching games. We need to stick to the regulations, and we are within our rights to make sure that happens."
Originally published as Elite school hires police officers for GPS games