Increased Security at Grady Stadium
ATLANTA - It was the first series of varsity football games at Grady Stadium in Atlanta since a shooting outside the facility last Friday night and the security increase was very obvious.
Football started in the early evening at with four teams slated for Friday night games. First up, Therrel High School took on Best Academy. One of the cheerleader moms said she was reluctant to come in the first place.
"I'm so glad, I feel so much safer because I actually was not going to let my daughter do this game after I heard what happened last week," said Flertisha McQueen.
One week ago, pandemonium erupted in the stadium after two people were injured by gunfire outside the stadium. The victims survived. Police said the shooter is on the loose. In response Atlanta Public Schools beefed up security, with a speeded up ticketing process, increased gate security and plenty of officers. Friday night they were on the field, at entrances, along the perimeter of Grady Stadium and riding Segway outside the facility.
"We talked a lot about making sure our officers could be more mobile in case there was a crisis or an incident, they needed to be able to get from one side to the other a little faster," said Meria Carstarphen, Superintendent of the Atlanta Public School System.
Donning a baseball cap and jeans, Carstarphen was up close and personal with concerned parents.
"I know I’m in my baseball cap and relaxing in my jeans, but that's what it's all about. Friday night should be fun," said Carstarphen.
Several parents told FOX 5 News they applaud the superintendent's involvement.
"It was so great to see her here to support the kids and the fans, you know just to be the lead of our district," said Hope Adams.
It's a school district where many of its' football teams play at Grady Stadium. But out-of-towners, like Dalton High School from North Georgia, had also heard about the shooting.
"Honestly, it was in the back of my mind, but since I've gotten here I see the police presence I feel like I haven't thought about it anymore," said Michael Leonard, a parent from Dalton High School.
Superintendent Carstarphen promises to maintain security measures into the future with a transparent approach for the public to continue the Friday night football tradition in as safe an environment as possible.