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UPDATE: Principal Reverses 'Bernie' Dance Decision, Season To Continue

The Perry Hall High School principal made the announcement at a news conference Friday morning.

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.

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UPDATE (Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m.)—Check out our live chat of the Perry Hall boys soccer post-Bernie dance playoff game against Blake.

Patch's Nick Dimarco will provide live updates, photos and video from the sidelines. Readers can join the conversation on Twitter or directly in the article. Game starts at 2 p.m.

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UPDATE (Nov. 4, 6:06 p.m.)—Perry Hall High School Principal George Roberts announced Friday that the decision to end the boys varsity soccer season early had been reversed, as by Patch.

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.

"The intent of my original decision was not to punish the students, but to preserve the dignity and character of an educational-based athletic program. Perry Hall High School does not now and will not in the future condone acts of unsportsmanlike behavior," Roberts said during a news conference at 11:45 a.m.

Roberts added that further disciplinary action will be taken against the players who performed the Bernie dance after beating rival on Tuesday, a that the principal believed was inappropriate. 

Soccer players and coach will participate in an online course about appropriate sportsmanship, he said.

The season cancellation, announced on Wednesday afternoon, was met by a , an and a media frenzy. Still, Roberts claimed the reversal of his original decision was influenced only by a more thorough investigation of players' actions after the Dulaney game.

"More information continued to come in from the various communities and various stakeholders and because of that, the decision was re-analyzed," he said.

Several players attended the news conference and met the announcement with applause.

"I really don't have words. I didn't think this was going to happen and we were going to play tomorrow," said senior Chad Bukowski.

Junior Nate Liberto said he also wasn't expecting to get to play on Saturday. "We're going to work harder than we ever have today to get ready for tomorrow. I thought Mr. Roberts was just going to stay with his decision," Liberto said.

"It's definitely a really good reaction. We're all extremely happy and overwhelmed," said senior Ryan Carter.

Watch players and students dance the Bernie after the news conference, in the article,

Check Patch for video and updates.

Follow Perry Hall Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE (Nov. 4, 11:04 a.m.)—The Perry Hall boys soccer team may play again.

According to a state athletics source speaking on the condition of anonymity, 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.

Perry Hall Principal George Roberts scheduled a press conference for 11:45 Friday morning at to announce a “final decision” on the situation that initially resulted in the Gators boys soccer team being for a against Dulaney, as first reported by Patch. The school did not confirm that a previous decision to cancel the remainder of the soccer season was being changed. 

No. 10 Perry Hall would visit No. 3 Blake in the Class 4A North region semifinal if the decision is overturned. The game was originally scheduled for tonight before Roberts announced the team would be disqualified.

Students protested at the school Friday, and another protest was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Stay with Patch for updates.

Heather November 04, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Apparently, the boys have been doing this all season, and have not been told to stop. It was a bad move to try and punish them for something they have been doing all along. I guess the PHHS Principal has never heard of "nip it in the bud". Maybe he has learned a lesson from all of this, but he should take a class in adolescent behavior management. If you allow a behavior, and never indicate that you do not like the behavior, or that you find that the behavior is inappropriate, then you can't just decide that you are going to punish that behavior when someone else complains. It is then your fault for allowing that behavior to continue. I think Mr. Roberts needs to accept FULL responsibility for allowing the behavior, and then he should face whatever punishment is appropriate.
Lorie November 04, 2011 at 08:26 PM
It made my day to hear that this call was reversed! Kudo's to the principal for making the decision. I would have loved to attend on Saturday and show my support, unfortunately I will be cheering on another soccer team! Good luck Perry Hall Varsity, we're rooting for you. Win or lose You had a great season!
Jon November 04, 2011 at 08:27 PM
All these comments and the "re-enacted" video leave out the other side of the story, i.e., that after the game the entire Perry Hall boys team came over to the Dulaney sideline, did their dance while pointing at their genitals, and taunted the Dulaney bench and Dulaney parents. This was witnessed by numerous people and was accepted by the Perry Hall principal to be the case. I am not saying that the boys should be suspended, but they are indeed getting off scott free for their taunting and bad sportsmanship (full disclosure: I am a former Dulaney parent).
Nottingham Teach November 04, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Don't make the assumption Mr. Roberts made that decision to end the season solely on his own. BCPS is a large system with many levels of control. He has superiors who have input as well. It is possible he was instructed to end the season against his will. He is in a very difficult position.
Emily Kimball (Editor) November 04, 2011 at 08:46 PM
VIDEO: Soccer Players, Students Dance the 'Bernie' Outside School -- Was it appropriate for students to do the Bernie after the decision to cancel the season early was reversed? http://patch.com/A-n1ZK
Bart November 04, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Were you an actual witness to it? Sometimes whipped-up parents and spectators get a frenzied rumor mill going, and common sense goes out the door.
Randy Moroni November 04, 2011 at 09:09 PM
A lot of valid points all around. Thanks to the many mature responses to my original post, as I learned a few things I didn't know - such as the suggestion that the students have been doing this in many previous games without someone raising an issue. If that's the case, the responsibility for this particular instance is on the coach. I don't particularly think the bernie dance is inappropriate from what I've seen online, but let's be honest, you could make square-dancing adult-rated if that was your intention. Supplemented by the alleged gestures, if that's what was done, certainly would be inappropriate. Directing them at the opposing team's audience would be as well. If someone has a link to the full video, please post it. The one above and what I could find elsewhere online were just a second or two of the victory dance or didn't include it - obviously nothing offensive there, but I certainly wasn't there to witness the drama unfold minute by minute.
Jon November 04, 2011 at 09:22 PM
I did not witness it, nor am I claiming to know the facts. However, the principal of Perry Hall did find that there was, at least, taunting, which was why he issued the initial punishment, and which I grant was too severe. Also, one of the parents who witnessed the incident and complained to the principal is a man I know and trust, and a man who knows good sportsmanship.
Frank November 04, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Scott Van Pelt covered this story on ESPN Radio today. He and his co-host were disgusted. Good luck on Saturday, boys!!
george martin November 04, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Back in the day, my Football coach had a more direct way of handling player antics. On one occasion our defense sacked the opposing QB. I was a rival game. Back then they were all rival games, anyway I digress. The players on the field high fived each other. Our Coach was livid, called time out and got us all in a huddle. He considered it poor sportsmanship to show off like that. Sack the QB, whistle stops the play and you hurry back to the huddle. The following Monday after practice he had us running wind sprints until our lungs hurt. Lesson learned. After that whenever we sacked the QB we sometimes helped him back up. Young players today could learn a lesson from that. So could the Pro's for that matter. yhs.
Andrew November 05, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Anyone who agrees that teams can't be happy and express it is nuts and are the people who are ruining our entire planet!!!!! What players and parents should do is wake up early and stay up late and play sports with your kids and help them experience their dreams and have fun!!!! Put all the thumb sucking and tears away and try to enjoy life for a change and if you lose get your butts up, get motivated and next time you might win? Then you can dance!!! If you keep losing do what normal people do, find something else your good at!!!
kelly November 05, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Perhaps Perry Hall needs to take a lomg hard look at itself. The behavior was uncalled for and exhibited poor sportsmanship. I am a Balto co parent and the school my children attend dislike very much coming to your school because of the behavior of the boys soccer team. You are a poor role model for the rest of the students at the High School. Shame on the principal for backing down. What lesson did this teach the players?
Trudie November 05, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Kelly, the children from "your" school dislike coming to PH because of their sportmanship? really? You sound like one of the sour puss parents from Dulaney. Perry Hall is a great school with great students, & that INCLUDES the Varsity Boys Soccer team. Kudos to Principal Roberts for realizing he overeacted and correcting his decision.
Aaron November 05, 2011 at 03:28 AM
who made the song moving like bernie? where can i get it?
Sarah Deacon November 05, 2011 at 09:38 AM
Great respect for Principal Roberts, who when presented with more information, had the courage to change a bad decision. Very proud of the respectful way the PH team handled themselves this week...good bunch of kids. So glad they get to play today. What a memorable end to their high school soccer careers!
Aaron November 05, 2011 at 09:47 AM
The Bernie started when the song Moving Like Bernie by A S I became a phenomenon on YouTube with over 7 million views world wide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MKhyM1aBrI
LalainMaryland November 05, 2011 at 10:13 AM
That would cause even more of a stir in the school. The principal did the right thing and changed his mind. Encouraging further disruption of the school year will result in more disciplinary actions.
Meg O'Hare November 05, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I hoped there would be a reversal when I read the following headline in a Forbes magazine online article «Stupid principal makes stupid decision for stupid parents about stupid dance». I agree with the training to reinforce the good sportsmanship conduct standards. In fact, maybe this training delivered electronically should be a prerequsite for all student athletes prior to tryouts for all sports.
chsmm1 November 05, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Thanks Meg for finding the above article from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2011/11/04/stupid-principal-cancels-soccer-season-because-stupid-parents-upset-over-teams-stupid-dance/ I bet the PHHS principal had no idea how his rash decision would be perceived in the internet age. The title of the article sums it "Stupid principal makes stupid decision for stupid parents about stupid dance".
Emily Kimball (Editor) November 05, 2011 at 05:43 PM
UPDATE (Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m.)—Check out our live chat of the Perry Hall boys soccer post-Bernie dance playoff game against Blake. Patch's Nick Dimarco will provide live updates, photos and video from the sidelines. Readers can join the conversation on Twitter or directly in the article. Game starts at 2 p.m. - http://patch.com/A-n2QY
Dan O'Neil November 05, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Perry Hall Boys Soccer wins 2-1 vs. Blake !! Go Gators !
Emily Kimball (Editor) November 05, 2011 at 09:28 PM
UPDATE (Nov. 5, 5 p.m.)—The Perry Hall Gators beat James Hubert Blake High School 2-0 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 -- http://patch.com/A-n2QY
tracy persing November 05, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Just happen to be on 43 when the bus came off of 95, pulled up behind the bus, not knowing if they won or not, when one of the boys finally looked back I put my thumbs up and then down. All the boys put their thumbs up and started yelling. I started beeping my horn and some other drivers joined in. Way to go boys!!!! Very happy for you guys!!! Good luck on the next game!!!
kevin November 06, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Congratulations to the principal.To those of you who weren't there but are putting down the kids for pointing to genitals Stop it .One of the parents who was there and filed a complaint saw the actual dance and meaning and realized they weren't pointing to anything and put it in the paper. It's a dead man dancing ,it is not making fun of your opponet it showing you still have something left and you ain't giving up.Now why don't we all drop it and go about our lives.
kira muller November 06, 2011 at 03:29 AM
that's awesome!
J November 07, 2011 at 06:45 PM
wish they would have gotten smoked they dont deserve to be playing, they are classless, if we were playing them we would have went over and knocked them off their dance
Emily Kimball (Editor) November 08, 2011 at 11:37 PM
UPDATE (Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.)—Check out our live chat of the soccer Perry Hall boys soccer post-Bernie dance playoff game against Westminster. Patch's Nick Dimarco will provide live updates, photos and video from the sidelines. Readers can join the conversation on Twitter or directly in the article - http://patch.com/A-n6WM
Emily Kimball (Editor) November 12, 2011 at 03:46 PM
UPDATE (Nov. 12)—We're going to be live chatting (http://patch.com/A-nDCN) the Gators next run in the state semifinals. The boys are entering their third post-Bernie match against Walter Johnson High School tonight at 7:30 p.m. Help spread the word about our live coverage on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/PerryHallPatch) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/PerryHallPatch). Patch's Nick DiMarco will provide live updates, photos and video from the sidelines. Get involved in the conversation using Twitter hashtags or by commenting directly in the live chat on the article. See you there (http://patch.com/A-nDCN).
James L. December 19, 2011 at 05:19 AM
Perry High School Principal Decision The Perry Hall High School Boys’ soccer team won their quarterfinal state match against Dulaney High School and celebrated by doing “The Bernie” dance following the game. Different opinions will arise about whether this showed poor judgment by the Perry Hall players or whether it was considered taunting. What is clear, though, is that the cancellation of the rest of the season by Perry Hall principal George Roberts on November 3, 2011 was an overreaction and an excessive penalty that was unwarranted. High school administrators need to have a clear set of priorities in governing the sports programs of their schools. Emphasis should be placed on protecting the integrity of the school/sport, fairness between schools/teams and the safety and well being of the players. While the character of the Perry Hill soccer team was tainted when they performed “The Bernie”, this behavior didn’t significantly jeopardize the integrity of the school. Questionable judgment on the part of teenage boys, maybe, but I wonder how much Principal Roberts’ penalty reflected his reaction to the reported protests by the opposing parent group. I am glad that Principal Roberts reversed his decision a day later and allowed Perry Hall to participate in the semi-final state soccer match. However, I believe that this incident displayed an excessive use of power by Principal Roberts.
James L. December 19, 2011 at 05:20 AM
I recommend that cancellations of high school sporting events and seasons require approval by the school district in order to promote discussion and idea sharing.

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