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Younger students won’t be able to go to sporting events without an adult at at least one Lexington high school, and the district is holding a meeting this week about safety precautions for all high school athletic games.
Representatives from all Fayette County Public high schools “are meeting this week to discuss ways to enhance safety precautions for school sporting events”, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said Wednesday night. The staff meeting is not open to the public.
The meeting follows an incident last week when a younger student sitting in the stands at a Douglass High football game without an adult was thought to have incited panic by falsely shouting that someone had a gun.
Fayette school district officials suggested the next day they might put limitations on unaccompanied minors at games.
Deffendall on Wednesday said Lafayette High School imposed a rule last year requiring minors to be accompanied by an adult, and disallowing backpacks at football games. Independent of the district meeting, she said, Lafayette administrators decided to reinstate their practices from last year.
In a letter to parents Wednesday about newly installed metal detectors in the building and other school issues, Lafayette High School officials said, “We will be adopting a no backpack rule at our sporting events and also no underage students without the presence of an adult. Underage is considered any child not yet in high school. “
“Students should be prepared to present their ID badge. Students without ID might be turned away. Final clarity on this policy will come later,” the letter said.
Administrators at the other five main Lexington high schools and school district leaders did not immediately comment on whether limitations on unaccompanied younger students at games would be districtwide. Deffendall said districtwide changes will be communicated directly with students and families, and distributed through local media outlets.
On Aug. 23, panic erupted in the fourth quarter of the football game between Lexington’s Frederick Douglass and Bryan Station high schools. Frightened fans believed someone had a gun at the game, Fayette school officials said.
“According to initial reports, an unaccompanied younger student sitting on the Douglass side of the stands shouted that someone had a gun,” an Aug. 23 statement from school district officials said. “In response, some fans in the nearby area ran out of the stadium, while others laid down in the bleachers. The game stopped for a brief period while players also got down on the field.”
District officials have been investigating to identify “those responsible for inciting this panic,” they said in the Aug. 23 statement. They found no evidence that there was a gun at the game held at Douglass and no one was injured.