UPDATE (Nov. 5, 5 p.m.)—The Perry Hall Gators beat James Hubert Blake High School 2-1 on Saturday. Perry Hall will now advance to the Class 4A North region final against Westminster on Tuesday.
Find live game coverage and commentary in the article, Live: Perry Hall Beats Blake in Post-Bernie Playoff Game.
UPDATE (Nov. 4, 12:16 p.m.)—Perry Hall High School Principal George Roberts announced Friday during a news conference that the decision to end the boys varsity soccer season early had been reversed.
The Class 4A North region semifinal game between Perry Hall and Blake High School will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at Blake in Montgomery County.
Check Patch for video and updates, in the article, UPDATE: Principal Reverses 'Bernie' Dance Decision, Season To Continue.
UPDATE (Nov. 3, 10:32 a.m.)—Perry Hall High School students protested the early cancellation of the boys varsity soccer season after players were disciplined for performing a victory dance after a playoff game.
Police responded to the Thursday morning demonstration, but no one was arrested, said Assistant Principal Stephen Arnold.
The protest was in response to a decision to disqualify the team from finishing the season because players did the Bernie Dance after beating rival Dulaney High 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon. Arnold said the dance was "inappropriate behavior that did not represent Perry Hall High School."
Students, many wearing shirts that read "Bring Back Boys Varsity Soccer," stood across from the school on a public sidewalk shortly after the school day began at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday.
School administrators, including Principal George Roberts, approached the group of students and encouraged them to come to class. One of the school's on-duty police officers also responded and requested that additional officers from the White Marsh police precinct come to the scene, Arnold said.
Officers arrived to monitor traffic and keep the protest from getting out of hand, he said. Students dispersed shortly after 8 a.m.
Some parents and students said the season-ending disqualification was unfair. Several of those who attended the Tuesday afternoon game told Patch that after Perry Hall athletes won the game, the boys performed the Bernie Dance on the field simply to celebrate, not to taunt the opposing team.
Parents of Dulaney students complained about the dance, calling it "sexually suggestive," Roberts said.
He and athletic director Bob Hruz conducted an investigation following complaints, speaking to a group of coaches, players and parents from both schools. By 3 p.m. Wednesday, they had decided to cancel the team's season, Roberts said.
"In my four years at Perry Hall, this is the first time an entire team has been suspended [from finishing the season]," he said. "If I thought it was too harsh, I would have made another decision."
"Children should celebrate by cheering each other, giving high fives, hugs and pats on the back. But in my view, a choreographed, celebratory dance is not the way to celebrate victory," Roberts said.
"That celebration method is not acceptable. It's not what we expect from our student athletes at Perry Hall High School," he said.
Jen Carolyn, a parent of two Perry Hall seniors, said the dance is a frequent occurrence after and during games.
"I was there the whole time. ... When those boys did the Bernie Dance, they went out to the middle of field. There was no grabbing of privates, like some people said, and they did not do any vulgar language," she said.
Carolyn was one of two parents who met privately with Roberts after the protest.
"These kids have fought so hard to get where they are ... they've worked so hard to create the unity and brotherhood that they have. There was no due process," she said.
Student Matthew Cavey, who helped plan the protest on Facebook, was one of three students who met with Roberts privately following the demonstration.
"I believe you should fight for what you care about, and I care about my friends. As soon as my friends on the soccer team told me that their game was to be forfeited simply because of a dance, I immediately knew I had to fight to get this decision overruled," Cavey wrote in an email to Patch after the school day ended.
"We fought, protested and talked to Principal Roberts and that's all that matters, that we tried our best and that's all I ever asked of anyone," he wrote.
Read more about the response from Perry Hall students in the article, Coach, Athletes Speak Out After 'Bernie' Dance Controversy.
Read more about the response from parents of Dulaney High students in the article, Dulaney Supporters Unhappy with Perry Hall's 'Appalling' Playoff Game Celebration.