CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced it will be tightening security at all athletic events starting Friday.
A few of the changes being made include no elementary or middle school students being allowed to attend high school games without a parent present. Thus, parents who typically drop their younger kids off at games can no longer do that.
"A lot of kids are being dropped off, and they're not there to watch the games," CMS Athletic Director Ericia Turner said. "They're just playing and walking around, and things happen."
CMS outlined how all spectators, including children, will have to sit in the bleachers during games and that if someone refuses to do this, they will be removed from the venue without a refund of their ticket.
Concession stands and restroom visits are allowed, of course, but patrons are asked to return promptly to their bleacher seats.
The district also hired extra officers to help the already present school resource officers, athletic directors, school administrators, behavioral management team members and other CMS staffers with enforcing these new procedures.
"If a group of middle school kids or elementary school kids come to the gate, without a parent, they have been encouraged to stop them at the gate and contact their parents," Turner said.
Parents were notified on Friday afternoon about the changes via text message and on CMS' social media pages.
"I’m a parent of a student-athlete, but I'm also a parent of a child who died in somebody else's caring," Turner said. "So that's real for me. My child died in day care, and so I know what it's like to have other people's children in your care."
The new protocols will apply to all CMS sporting events.
"These efforts are evidence of a commitment to maintain a safe environment at CMS athletics events for students, staff and parents and all fans to enjoy," CMS stated in a press release on Friday. "Entrance procedures remain unchanged; security scans remain in place including metal detecting wands and searches as warranted."
"Entrance procedures will include the use of handheld metal detectors and bag searches as warranted," the social media post outlined.
WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.