In homecoming-related news from the Stanley County school board’s July meeting, old beat-up vans, decorated with school colors and slogans and known as Buff-mobiles, will be allowed in the homecoming parade this year.

After some indication last year that the 2016 homecoming parade might be the last one featuring “Buff-mobiles,” minutes from this year’s July 10 board meeting show that the board steered policy to allow the vehicles to participate this fall. A clause that would have banned them was struck from the student handbook.

From the minutes: “Further discussion was held resulting in Heninger moving, seconded by Carter, to amend page 7 striking the NOR WILL THEY BE ALLOWED IN THE HOMECOMING PARADE. All voted aye.”

Buff-mobiles are vans festooned with school colors and slogans. District staff told the Capital Journal on Monday, after the board’s regular August meeting, that, while the vehicles are decorated, “decoration” was an understatement. Beloved as a tradition, their history has, on occasion, included unbeloved behavior by their occupants. That’s what led to some momentum last year to ban them, and Pierre’s corresponding Gov-mobiles, from both schools’ homecoming parades.

In an interview on Tuesday, Pierre School District superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt said that Pierre would “stick by” its decision to ban Gov-mobiles from the homecoming parade, characterizing it as a safety issue. He said that kids had been seriously injured over the years, some from the sharp, metal edges that result from cutting the top off of a van. Glodt said that both school districts had banned the “mobiles” from school property for a few years, but, last year, Pierre had taken the step of banning Gov-mobiles from the homecoming parade. He’d thought there also was movement last year towards a parade ban on Buff-mobiles by the Stanley County School District.

Based on Capital Journal reporting at the time, Price left open the possibility of continuing the tradition. He was quoted as saying, “We want to have that conversation with the school board, the community and the students.”

Price and other staff stressed after Monday’s board meeting, in conversation with the Capital Journal, that the vehicles are not allowed on school property, but are allowed to participate in the parade, which takes place in the public right-of-way.

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