GROVEPORT, Ohio (WCMH) – Groveport Madison schools are tackling safety concerns at their home football games.
For the foreseeable future, there will be heightened security and new rules.
This comes after a rocky start to back-to-back seasons. At last week’s game at Canal Winchester, police arrested four teenagers and confiscated three automatic weapons from teenagers.
Last season shots were fired outside the stadium causing fans to panic at the Cruisers opening game.
Groveport Madison school officials are determined to keep the trouble away from Friday night lights.
“I think it’s going to be a very safe environment for our students and community,” said Chris Reed, the Business Services Director for Groveport-Madison.
Reed said they want to note the people involved in both incidents did not go to either school involved.
“Very unfortunate situations. And last year’s incident started a chain reaction a process with us,” Reed said.
They have set new rules in place for home football games. These rules will last the rest of the season. No backpacks will be allowed inside. People are also not allowed to re-enter after they exit. Everyone who comes to the game will have to walk through a weapons detector.
“You’re not going to get into a Groveport sport event without walking through an evolved system, and these Evolve systems are going to catch if you’ve got something,” Reed said.
The system will light up and make noise if it senses something that could be a weapon. It will also show security the exact location of the potential weapon.
“We hope that A, it’s a feeling of safety and security, but B, it’s a deterrent,” Reed said, “And see if that person still wants to try to come here, that might have a weapon. You’re going to get caught.”
Police will also be stepping up their patrols. There will be 10 Groveport officers at Friday’s game.
The visiting team, Gahanna, is also sending six officers.
“It’s just a sad, sad state of society that we have to put this many police officers at a game. It’s supposed to be a game. It’s supposed to be fun,” said Lt. Josh Short with the Groveport Police Department.
Groveport officials said they are confident Friday’s game will just be about fun.
They said they’ve been using the weapon detectors every day at the start of school and so far, it’s been a success.