Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Impressed by Lombardi’s handling of game tension

To the editor:

This letter is not to comment on the rightness or wrongness of Assistant Principal Bryan Lombardi’s actions in relation to the pledge incident at Northampton High School.

I just want to express my gratitude to and admiration for Lombardi’s role earlier this month in keeping everyone safe the night of the boys basketball team’s nail-biting loss to undefeated Westside. The gym was full of raucous, rowdy fans and the prospect of Northampton beating Westside brought emotions and the noise level way up.

Throughout the game, Lombardi stood at the bottom of the stands, brokering an uneasy truce between the Northampton students and the adult Westside fans in the next section. More than once he had to intervene with fans that were close to physical altercations. As I watched him handle this volatile situation, I was grateful for his steadiness and effectiveness in preventing what could have become an ugly melee. I can’t imagine having that level of responsibility.

The Northampton students respected his limit-setting when their behavior reached the threshold of acceptability, and the Westside adults (reluctantly!) recognized and responded to his authority.

When Westside hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer, there was a tremendous surge of energy in the gym, and for the next minute, as fans from both sides streamed onto the court, it felt as if things might get out of control.

Lombardi worked quickly with the Northampton police officers at the game to be sure that the players and fans remained safe, both in the gym and out in the parking lot.

It was clear to me that the safety of the students and everyone else at that game was Lombardi’s first priority. And I believe this is his priority every day on the job.

I, for one, am thankful for that.

Jennifer Bryan

Northampton

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