New La. law criminalizes parents, fans harassing high school game officials

Photo: Kurt Voigt/Associated Press

The trend of hyper aggressive parents harassing high school referees and officials has become all too prevalent, nationwide. Now the state of Louisiana is doing something about it.

As reported by the Baton Rouge Advocate, a soon to be enforceable law that originated as House Bill 184 will make it a crime for anyone to harass officials working games at the high school or recreational level. The bill that was passed specifically protects all officials against both verbal abuse and any physical encounters at the game or even at the official’s car after a contest ends.

The penalty for violating the new regulations is no joke, either:

“Those charged can be fined as much as $500 and sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. They must perform 40 hours of community service and attend a court-approved anger management program. An individual who is ejected and ordered to leave the facility but does not can be fined up to $500 and sentenced to as much as six months in jail.”

So the $500 fine isn’t necessarily back-breaking, but 3-6 months in jail? Jiminy Christmas.

One of the clear goals of the new law is to clear what is seen as a pivotal obstacle to identifying and retaining new game officials.

Whether that follows remains to be seen, but it’s unquestionable that any measure which legitimately cuts down on the amount of vitriol and physical endangerment faced by scholastic and recreational officials is a very good thing.

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