In the wake of a mass shooting at a football game last weekend, the Mobile County Public School System is upgrading its security protocols and installing metal detectors at all facilities where its games are held.
As Lagniappe reported, 17-year-old Deangelo Parnell is facing nine counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting and wounding nine poeple at last week’s game between Williamson and LeFlore high schools. Parnell has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently being held on a $154,000 bond.
Within hours of the shooting, MCPSS and city officials were discussing ways to enhance security, and on Wednesday, the school system detailed those plans to the public for the first time. The new rules will go into effect immediately and will be enforced during the upcoming games on Friday, Sept. 6.
“Our utmost concern and our number one priority is the safety and security not only of our students and staff but anyone who is visiting and attending one of our athletic events,” MCPSS Security Director Kevin Gatewood said. “We take that very seriously.”
One obvious difference will be the way entrance to games is handled. Earlier this week, MCPSS purchased 20 walk-through metal detectors that are currently being installed at all of the stadiums where high school football games are held — including those that are not owned by the school system.
Specifically, four will be installed at Ladd-Peebles, while the other locations — Prichard, Trimmier, Baker, Blount, Bryant, Citronelle, Mary G. Montgomery and Theodore – will have two metal detectors apiece.
Access will also be limited to just two entrance gates, depending on the layout of the stadium.
All of the entrances and metal detectors will be monitored by armed police officers as well as a school administrator or a designated school official.
In addition, MCPSS will be increasing the number of police and/or security officers at all of its home football games and other sporting events.
From now on, there will be no passes out of games and everyone entering the game will be required to purchase a ticket “regardless of the amount of time remaining in the game.” School officials also noted that anyone wearing “suspicious attire” may be subjected to additional searches by security.
Future MCPSS sporting events will also adopt protocols that are common at the collegiate level. Only clear bags, including purses, will be allowed and all bags will be searched upon entry. According to MCPSS, backpacks and umbrellas will also no longer be allowed inside any of its stadiums.
A full list of the 18 new protocols going into effect this weekend is listed below, though many only apply to MCPSS security and officials and how they’ll be used to make events more secure in the future. The school system is asking fans to be patient as these new procedures are implemented.
New protocols for MCPSS sporting events:
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).