A Butler County school district marked by months of division about school security issues is welcoming some fun diversion courtesy of a history-making football squad.
Madison Schools officials have been entangled in controversy since last spring when its school board decided to move ahead on a plan to arm some trained school staffers to better protect the schools.
The decision – and a subsequent lawsuit against Madison by some school parents opposing the plan – has led to months of contentiousness in the small, rural school system just west of Middletown.
But Friday’s victory by Madison High School’s football team has the battling Mohawks headed for a record-breaking, second consecutive state playoff appearance, and school officials and residents are happy to have something to cheer about rather than argue over.
“Madison becomes one again because of the great dedication of our community to support our boys,” said Madison Schools Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff.
Regardless of whether undefeated Madison wins its final regular season game this week, it’s state ranking locks the team into hosting a home playoff game on Nov. 3.
Last year’s squad was the first in school district history to go deep into the state playoffs – eventually losing in a Division V state semi-final game.
It was a magical season and much-welcomed from a school system that was in the national spotlight for a 2016 school shooting that saw a student wound three classmates.
Madison Athletic Director Matt Morrison said, “This one of the best thing that could have happened to our football program and community.”
“I know last year’s playoff run really brought a new expectation and sense of pride back to the community. I know that having this opportunity for our coaches and players to be in this position again is something our community needs,” said Morrison.
Julee Pelgen, whose son Cole plays on the Mohawk squad, said another shot at a historic playoff run is what the school community wants to be known for rather than a school shooting and the controversy of possibly arming some school employees.
“We had a tragedy here but we don’t want that to define us,” said Pelgen. “We want something more positive to define us. This (playoff berth) is exciting and it’s bringing our community together.”
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