Mobile County Public Schools release new safety guidelines

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Big security changes coming to Mobile County football games, all in response to last week’s mass shooting at Ladd-Peebles.

We knew about metal detectors and clear bags, but Wednesday, the school district outlined more than a dozen other new restrictions.

This comes after 9 people were shot at the LeFlore-Williamson High School football game Friday night. The shooting stemmed from a fight and happened as the game was ending in the concourse of Ladd-Peebles stadium. 17-year-old Deangelo Parnell was arrested in connection with the shooting.

“We got it done,” said Rena Philips, Director of Communication for Mobile County Public School System.

Less than a week after the shooting at Ladd, MCPSS buys and installs 20 metal detectors at all nine stadiums across the county.

“Sometimes when an event like this occurs, it makes you realize that there are ways that we can do things better,” said Andy Gatewood, MCPSS Director of Safety and Security.

Four have been brought to Ladd, two at each of the remaining eight stadiums: Trimmier, Baker, Blount, Bryant, Citronelle, Mary G. Montgomery, and Theodore. 

“If we see the need to change the number that we have in certain places, we’ll address that at that time. Not sure if that means additional units or repurposing some units from one place to another,” said Gatewood.

These aren’t the only changes coming to Mobile Public School games after Friday’s violence.

There will now be one or two designated gates for spectators to enter, a police officer and a school administrator will be at those entrances. Once inside the stadium, you won’t be able to leave and re-enter, if you want to come back in, you will have to buy another ticket. Backpacks and umbrellas will not be allowed in the stadiums, only clear bags are allowed.

“Those are things we’ve worked hour after hour since the incident Friday, our goal is for this to never ever happen again,” said Gatewood.

They’re ready to react to any incident.

“If there’s ever a situation where they think it’s dangerous, then we would take that measure, to cancel and postpone a game. This one happened at the very end of the game and it’s just very unfortunate,” said Philips.

The following is a press release from Mobile County Public Schools.

Attached is our new protocol for sporting events. We have been working with the City of Mobile, the Mobile Police Department, our high school principals, and officials at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on this.  

Rena Philips | Director of Communication

With the new protocol, we are asking that fans be patient with us as we implement the use of walk-through metal detectors and a clear-bag policy. These new procedures will be in effect starting Friday and through the remainder of football season.

We plan to have all 20 of the walk-through metal detectors installed today and tomorrow, and we are limiting access to all home games to either one or two gates, depending on the layout of the stadium. At Ladd, for example, we will have two gates, one for the home team and one for the visitors. We will post two metal detectors at each of those gates so fans can form two lines. All other stadiums – Prichard, Trimmier, Baker, Blount, Bryant, Citronelle, Mary G. Montgomery and Theodore – will have two metal detectors apiece. The gates will open one hour before kick-off. Fans should plan on going through a line as if they were at a college football game.

Rena Philips | Director of Communication

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