SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Football games at Byrnes High School will look a little different than normal starting today.
On Friday, the Byrnes High School Rebels are facing off against the Spartanburg Vikings but fans can expect heightened security measures including a clear bag policy.
Fans entering Nixon Field will be allowed to bring in a one gallon ziplock bag or a small clear bag and a small wallet. Book bags, totes and any other non-clear bags are no longer allowed inside the stadium.
“If you’ve been to any stadium or concert or event they’re kinda the norm now and it’s certainly something that’s happening at districts and stadiums across our state,” Melissa Robinette, spokesperson at Spartanburg School District 5, said.
Along with the clear bag policy, there will also be three new gates to separate fans from opposing teams and to limit the amount of entrances and exits.
But the district said the biggest issue is large groups of unaccompanied elementary and middle schoolers crowding into games with no parental supervision.
Officials said sometimes kids stay hours after the game has ended— putting more responsibility on the district.
“We had parents in the community that were just dropping their kids off and just letting them go to the games by themselves. We’re not here to judge anybody’s parenting but that put us in a position where we had a lot of unaccompanied minors in our stadium,” Roninette said.
School resource officers that monitor crowds at the games said this is an issue they constantly deal with on game day.
“We’re seeing a lot of parents dropping off students who are middle school and below and not being supervised. They do not want to sit down and watch the game. They want to roam around and walk around and just make circles around the stadium,” Ryan Cothran, director of Saftey and Emergency Services for Spartanburg School District 5, said.
With the new rules, middle and elementary students will be required to be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult on gameday.
The district said these changes were a long time coming but necessary to keep rebel fans safe.
“We’re always looking to better the game experience and the safety for everyone and thats students parents and the community so anything that we can do to improve the security we’re going to do that for our fans,” Roninette said.
For more information on the new security measures, click here.