The first two Friday nights of the 2023 football season for the Muscogee County School District brought a total of four arrests of teens for weapon charges in or outside the stadium.
In response, MCSD announced Tuesday revised safety procedures and guidelines, effective immediately, for varsity football games.
Everyone trying to enter Kinnett Stadium and Odis Spencer Stadium, which are owned by MCSD, will be screened for weapons.
Odis Spencer Stadium is where a 17-year-old was arrested during the Aug. 18 game between Spencer and Greenville high schools on two counts of carrying a weapon on school property after an MCSD police officer noticed the outline of a handgun in the teen’s book bag and found two loaded handguns during the investigation.
MCSD’s news release about the revised safety procedures and guidelines doesn’t mention A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, owned by the Columbus Consolidated Government. That stadium is where two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old were arrested Aug. 25 outside the stadium on weapons charges after police confiscated three guns.
Those arrests came after a fight among fans inside the stadium broke out near the end of the third quarter during the game between city rivals Carver and Spencer. Officials ended the game early after the fight caused chaos in the stands and on the field.
MCSD communications director Kimberly Wright wrote to the Ledger-Enquirer in an email, “Due to staffing issues related to security, the District has suspended the use of the stadium until the security situation can be adequately addressed.”
The Ledger-Enquirer asked Wright which MCSD games were scheduled for McClung and where they will be rescheduled. This story will be updated when that answer is received.
MCSD reserves the right to deny admission based on reasonable suspicion of illegal drug or alcohol use.
Children in middle school and younger will be refused entry without their parent or guardian, at least 21 years old, accompanying them. An adult may accompany no more than five students.
All spectators must remain on their team’s side and in the bleachers unless they are using the restroom or buying items from the concession stand.
MCSD’s Code of Conduct is applicable at any event hosted by the school district.
Spectators exhibiting horseplay, insubordination, disrespect or fighting are subject to removal and may be banned from future games.
Bags larger than 5-by-9 inches are banned, except for “essential needs,” the news release says, such as medical bags, diaper bags and equipment bags for media, players, coaches, trainers and band members, depending on the discretion of security personnel.
All bags will be subject to inspection.
Student dress code
Students should follow the dress code in the MCSD Student Handbook. The school district reserves the right to remove students violating the dress code.
Face coverings, other than medical-grade masks, are prohibited. Violators may be removed from the event.
Tickets and entry
Admission is via digital ticket that may be purchased at gofan.com.
Anyone leaving the stadium after initial clearance and entry won’t be allowed enter again during the event.
Refunds won’t be issued to anyone denied admission, asked to leave or removed from the event.
Nobody may be admitted after halftime.
Spectators must follow the instructions from stadium staff for how to exit the stadium.
“We realize that some requirements are not always convenient but absolutely necessary when protecting our students, schools, and community,” the news release says. “We all play a critical role in school safety, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.”