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School district reverses decision on Tailgate alcohol

The Superior school district announced Wednesday that it is reversing its plans to serve alcohol at the upcoming Green Bay Packers’ Tailgate Tour.

Superior superintendent Janna Stevens said the district chose to reconsider its decision to serve alcohol after the Packers expressed concerns.

“I don’t know what negative press they received, but we certainly don’t want to do anything that would negatively impact the organization helping us with this fundraiser,” Stevens said.

Aaron Popkey, director of public affairs for the Packers, said the organization had heard from a number of citizens who were concerned about the school district’s one-day waiver to its drug and alcohol policy. The Superior School Board approved the waiver at its regular meeting in January.

“We received some phone calls from residents who wanted to make sure we were aware of their opinions on the event,” Popkey said.

The decision of whether to serve alcohol at the Tailgate Tour event is left to the local hosts, Popkey said, and the Packers support whatever decision is made.

“Every event is unique to itself, and we’re excited to be back in the Superior area,” he said.

Sue Hagen LePage, a teacher for Family Forum and a parent of a Superior High School student, was especially pleased to hear of the school district’s decision. She spoke out against the Board’s original decision to serve alcohol at the Tailgate Tour and also contacted the Packers.

“It really feels great that it paid off to speak up,” Hagen LePage said. “You feel like your voice doesn’t count, but when you see a decision being reversed, you realize that it is important for parents to speak up and share their views.”

The Superior woman also praised the School Board for its courage and said the decision to ban alcohol sends a responsible message to students.

“I think it shows support of the decisions they’ve made historically with Pledge Makers and the random drug testing and the alcohol-free graduation night,” Hagen LePage said. “They’re supporting everything that they are encouraging by reversing this decision.”

Hagen LePage had planned to boycott the Tailgate Tour, but now that the event will be alcohol free, she is anxious to purchase a ticket.

“Our family is Packers fans, and my daughter just visited Lambeau Field last week when she went for the girls state basketball game,” Hagen LePage said. “So we are really excited to get tickets for it.”

Although the school district announced its decision Wednesday, the Superior School Board has yet to discuss the matter in an open meeting.

Stevens said she called each Board member individually last week to inform them of the Packers’ concerns. Through those conversations, the members gave unanimous consent to make the Tailgate Tour alcohol-free, Stevens said, and the school district issued a press release Wednesday.

“It doesn’t have to be voted upon (in open session),” Stevens said.

The Superior School Board will address the issue as a discussion item at its April 7 meeting, but no vote will be taken, Stevens said.

The Tailgate Tour is scheduled to make a stop in Superior on April 17. Tickets to the event cost $30 and may be purchased at Screen Graphics, 1327 Banks Ave.).

The Tailgate Tour is being held in conjunction with the groundbreaking for the NBC Spartan Sports Complex at Superior High School.

Tour celebrities scheduled to attend the event are Packers president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy; current players Jarrett Bush, Brad Jones and Mason Crosby; and Packers alumni Paul Coffman, Lynn Dickey and James Lofton.

Stevens said the school district is excited to host the Packers, but the issue of alcohol had become a distraction. With the decision to go alcohol-free, Steven said she hopes the focus can return to the NBC Spartan Sports Complex and the excitement it has created in Superior.

“This was never meant to be some big alcohol celebration,” Stevens said. “This is meant to be a celebration of our groundbreaking.”

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