Richmond Public Schools implements new safety protocols for sporting events

Richmond Public Schools has put new safety protocols in place for games and ticketed events.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Less than a week after a threat canceled a high school football game, Richmond Public Schools has put new safety protocols in place for games and ticketed events

“The safety and well-being of students, staff, families, and visitors to our campuses is our top priority at Richmond Public Schools,” RPS said in a news release Thursday.

Among the changes:

  • All game tickets must be purchased in advance through GoFan.
  • No re-entry will be permitted.
  • No bags of any kind will be permitted into the stadium. A clear, gallon-sized, zip-lock bag may be used for personal care items for infants. They must be brought by the attendee.
  • Everyone - including spectators, band members, cheerleaders, and football players from the opposing team - will be subject to search and security screening.
  • No outside food or drinks will be permitted, including water bottles.
  • Spectators must exit the premises immediately following the conclusion of the game.

School officials confirmed that the security measures include pat-downs and screening wands.

The school community is still trying to heal from the mass shooting that happened in June after the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony.

A Huguenot High School graduate and his stepfather were killed, and five others were injured in a shooting outside Altria Theater.

Last week’s game between Huguenot and Thomas Jefferson high schools was canceled after a threat, although RPS says the game will be scheduled at a later time.

The new safety protocols released Thursday are in place, “effective immediately,” RPS said.

School Board member Jonathan Young says this is in response to violence at Huguenot High School and other threats. He says it would be “irresponsible” to do otherwise.

Also, in Thursday’s news release, RPS also addressed several frequently asked questions.

1. How many bags can each person bring to a division athletic event?

None, with the exception of a clear gallon-sized, zip-locking bag for personal items (e.g., diapers and medicine) for infants. Visitors can still carry items such as keys, makeup, feminine products, combs, phones, or wallets in their pockets or jacket.

2. Can fans carry cameras, binoculars, smartphones, or tablets separately from what they put in a clear bag?

Yes, but they are subject to inspection and must be carried by hand and not in any container.

3. Are seat cushions or blankets during cold weather allowed to be carried into a division event?

Yes, but they are subject to inspection and must be carried by hand and not in any container.

What happens if I show up at an event with a bag that is not permitted?

Fans carrying bags that do not meet our requirements will not be permitted to enter. They will have the opportunity to return prohibited items to their car. Bags cannot be left unattended anywhere on the campus.

4. What do I do if I have certain medically necessary items to bring into the stadium that will not fit in a clear bag?

An exception will be made for medically necessary items in a clear, gallon-size bag after proper inspection. A gate administrator will be available to assist with these situations.

5. What happens if a gun, knife, or other prohibited item is found in a bag during an inspection?

On-site law enforcement officers will be immediately notified if any contraband is found on school property. Guns, knives, weapons of any kind, drugs, and alcohol are all prohibited on campus.

6. Will the media or student-athletes participating in the event be allowed to bring bags into the venue?

Yes. Members of the media with a press credential will be allowed to bring equipment bags into the venue; however, these are subject to inspection. Student-athletes participating in the event at the stadium may also carry their equipment bags but those will also be inspected.

7. Are these protocols only in place at football games? What about other events or activities held at other schools?

These protocols are in place at all Richmond Public Schools after-school athletic and academic events.