Following a false gun scare at a recent Lexington high school football game, the Fayette County Public Schools system has made a couple of rule changes for its upcoming events.
During a recent game between two local high schools, Frederick Douglass and Bryan Station, it was reported that minor students incited panic when they falsely shouted that someone in attendance had a gun. School officials and police later confirmed that no bullets were fired and the situation was quickly diffused, however, new rules are being put in place in response to the incident.
Here is the statement provided by FCPS:
The following changes, which take effect immediately, stem from an incident during the fourth quarter of the football game between Frederick Douglass and Bryan Station high schools in August. Fans were unnecessarily alarmed when unaccompanied minor students falsely shouted that someone had a gun. In reality, there was no threat. This incident provided the perfect opportunity for the high school principals to come together and examine practices in order to look for ways to enhance safety during athletic events.
All six public high schools have agreed to the following rule changes that have been put into effect immediately, per FCPS.net.
Football games between two FCPS teams will kick off at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
Students cannot bring backpacks or large bags into evening high school athletic events. School officials reserve the right to search bags carried by adults.
Students younger than high school age must be accompanied by an adult.
Outside food or drinks are not allowed at games.
A few of these rules are ones that could have been put in place years ago. While the college football atmosphere is obviously different from high school games, it still makes sense that students shouldn’t be allowed to carry oversized bags into games. The SEC has enforced a clear bag policy at home games for years now. Allowing officials the right to search the bags of adults is also common practice when attending sporting events.
Even requiring children under the age of 12 or 13 (“younger than high school age”) sounds like a safety practice that makes sense.
The changes that don’t make any sense as the consequences of a false gun scare, however, are the games starting an hour early along with not allowing anyone to bring in outside food or drinks. For starters, there was no actual gunfire. These rules are being enforced due to a few children not understanding the extreme severity of their wrongful actions. Starting the games an hour earlier isn’t going to prevent anything like this from happening again. Keeping outside food and drinks out of the football games sounds more like the people in charge trying to squeeze extra money out of the fans and parents rather than acting in good faith.
While I like that FCPS is trying to make changes, some of the new “rules” come off as misaligned with what they are actively trying to prevent. A clear bag policy similar to what the University of Kentucky does would work just as effectively as opposed to banning backpacks (an item owned by nearly every student who attends high school) and large bags altogether. And even if younger children are accompanied by an adult, they can still just as easily run out of their parent’s sight.
Adjustments have been made, but none that will actually have a direct impact on the safety of students, parents, fans, or the athletes.