Poor Behavior at the Connie Bean Center

Siena Hill, Paper Clip Staff/Writer

Vandalism, fights, and unruly behavior are not actions one would expect to occur at the Connie Bean Center in Portsmouth. However, according to staff, these are all things they have witnessed in their time working at the recreation center. 


The Connie Bean Center, attached to the middle school, has been a popular hangout spot to play sports and socialize for years now and is used by both PHS and PMS students alike. It was founded in 1916 and has moved across two different locations. The center offers open gym hours to play basketball as well as hosts recreational activities. 


However, over the past few months, there have been multiple instances of harmful behavior and disrespect to the recreation center’s space. According to David Hill and Nick Larkin, Connie Bean staff members, there has been an influx in troublemaking and unruly behavior. 


Hill states that one of the most frequent occurrences of this behavior is vandalism in the bathrooms. “Over April break some kids from out of town came in and vandalized our bathrooms. We’ve also had other instances with local students,” Hill recalls. 


Hill believes that students are not respecting and appreciating the space as they should. “It is a privilege to have the Connie Bean and people are taking it for granted. People in other towns don’t have something like this,” he said. 


In other instances, staff has witnessed both verbal fights and physical roughhousing that they have had to break up. One fight they had witnessed was a verbal altercation in which harmful language and slurs were used. This resulted in the students being suspended from both their school and Connie Bean. With this, Larkin stresses the need for respect for peers as well as the space. “As long as they behave and respect one another, we will all be happy,” he said. 


After all of the bad behavior that occurs at the Connie Bean, staff at the Connie Bean wish that students would take the space more seriously and use it as intended. “Kids serious about playing basketball should use it for that purpose instead of hanging out,” Hill expresses. As for the future, the center has plans of possibly creating a lounge area where students are able to socialize in a contained space under staff supervision.


Larkin states that the Connie Bean Center should be a “safe space” for all students and in order to keep it that way students need to clean up their behavior.