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CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — The organization that oversees high school sports in Rhode Island is asking overzealous parents to settle down, because they are driving away qualified game officials.

Tom Mezzanotte, executive director of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, tells WJAR-TV that the primary reason the state has a shortage of referees and umpires is because officials don’t want to put up with obnoxious parents.

In a letter to parents of high school athletes, Mezzanotte wrote: ‘‘Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you’’ and ‘‘embarrasses your child’s school.’’

He says the shortage of officials results in games being rescheduled, postponed or canceled.

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Susan Johnson, a softball umpire, says an angry parent drove toward a colleague’s car after a game before swerving away at the last second.