CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Clayton County Public Schools have new safety measures in place for their football games this week. This after an 18-year-old student was shot in the parking lot of one of the games last week.
District officials say only people with tickets to the game will be allowed into the parking lot area. That’s one of several changes they’re making to make sure parents and students can enjoy the game.
"We want everyone to experience what has been known traditionally and historically as Friday night lights. We don’t want to take that away or marginalize that by any means," Ralph Simpson, Deputy Superintendent for Administrative Services explained.
And that’s why district leaders say security changes are so important. This comes after a violent start to the football season. The district says an 18-year-old Henry County student was shot in the parking lot of Tara Stadium due to an attempted robbery.
To prevent further violence, the district has implemented several new policies including no tailgating or loitering.
"We’ll have security monitoring and doing parking lot sweeps to ensure there’s no one standing around we want any and every one coming to the stadiums to enter the game," Simpson said.
"For those that do not have a physical ticket, then they will not be allowed on the property. We will loop them in and loop them out," he added.
In addition, the district will not allow anyone inside after the third quarter. No one can enter in and out of games, opposing teams and their fans will be separated from the other teams, and parents are asked to accompany their children.
"We don’t anticipate that they won’t follow the directive but if they choose not to then we will have to elevate that directive and that request and that could obviously mean something a little more unfortunate for that particular person," Simpson explained.
"While we have some measures in place right now it could lead to further restrictions it could lead to relaxing restrictions, but we have to be prepared, and we have to plan, and we’ll adjust as we go along," he added.
Officials have also asked people to arrive at least 30 minutes early to the games. The metal detectors and clear bag policies are also still in place.