School District Five implements new safety measures after incident at Friday night football game
IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five will immediately implement several new safety measures at varsity sporting events, following an incident that prompted the evacuation of spectators at the Dutch Fork High vs. Irmo High football game on Friday, Aug. 31.
Among the new measures:
The district will implement handheld metal detectors to screen all spectators, beginning with varsity football games at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools.
Bags also will be subject to searches at designated entry points, in line with state statute permitting “reasonable search” of any person entering school premises.
Admission will be charged throughout the duration of games.
All students 8th grade or younger will now be required to attend games with parents or guardians.
School Resource Officers also will travel with teams at away games.
“We take safety and security very seriously,” said School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton. “After listening to the concerns of our parents, staff, community members and school board members over the weekend; we met with our high school principals, district safety officers and other key district staff to take immediate action and implement new safety measures.”
Melton added that the district already had several security measures in place, including increased law enforcement presence at sporting events and evacuation protocol communicated to key school and district staff.
“The added security steps are short-term, immediate measures that we can implement this week, and we will look at other measures that we may be able to adopt in the future,” Melton said.
Local law enforcement and school officials continued Monday to investigate the incident at the Friday game. Shortly after the incident, district officials used the automated message system to notify parents that rumors of gunshots were not true. No guns were found, and no shots were fired, officials with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.
Counselors were made available to students Tuesday and will continue to be available throughout the week. The district also took added steps to ensure the safety and well-being of students.
“We have been in constant contact with local law enforcement this weekend and will continue to coordinate with them as they continue their investigation,” said Dr. Michael Harris, Chief Planning and Administrative Officer for the district. “The messages we provide you during emergencies as well as the security measures we take at schools are in partnership with local police. We will continue to work to ensure we communicate pertinent information when it's available and ensure that our schools remain safe places for our students to learn.”