Education

After panic at game, Lexington schools will have these new rules for sporting events.

Frederick Douglass keeps city win streak rolling

Frederick Douglass defeats Tates Creek to keep its perfect record against city teams in high school football at 14-0.
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Frederick Douglass defeats Tates Creek to keep its perfect record against city teams in high school football at 14-0.

After panic erupted at a Lexington football game last month when unaccompanied minor students falsely shouted that someone had a gun, Fayette County Public School officials have decided to enact new rules for high school sporting events.

Beginning this week, the following new rules will be in place, school officials said Thursday.

Football games between two Fayette County Public Schools teams will kick off at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.

Students will not be allowed to bring backpacks and/or large bags into evening high school athletic events. School officials reserve the right to search bags carried by adults.

Students younger than high school age must be accompanied by an adult.

Outside food or drinks will not be allowed at games.

“During the fourth quarter of the football game between Frederick Douglass and Bryan Station high school in August, fans were unnecessarily alarmed when unaccompanied minor students falsely shouted that someone had a gun. In reality, there was no threat,” district officials said in a statement Thursday.

“Fayette County Public Schools is committed to making our campuses among the safest in the nation, and as such, we are continually looking for ways to improve our practices,” the statement said.

“High school athletic events are an important part of building school spirit and culture. We value these experiences and traditions not only for our students, but also our community at large. We ask everyone to help our schools implement these changes in an effort to provide a safe and fun experience for everyone in attendance at our games,” the statement said.

At an Aug. 23 Frederick Douglass-Bryan Station football game, school district officials have said, a younger student sitting in the stands on the Douglass side was thought to have incited panic by falsely shouting that someone had a gun. Some fans ran out of the stands, others laid down in the bleachers and the game stopped briefly as players also “got down” on the field.

Following the incident, Deffendall said representatives of all Fayette County public high schools met to discuss enhancing safety precautions for school sporting events. The staff meeting was not open to the public.

“This incident provided the perfect opportunity for high school principals across our district to come together and examine existing practices in order to look for ways to enhance safety during athletic events,” Thursday’s statement said. District officials said although each school has authority to set its own practices in this area,” staff at Lexington’s six main high schools agreed to the new rules.

Last week, Lafayette High School officials told parents in a letter that backpacks would not be allowed at sporting events and students not yet of high school age would have to be accompanied by an adult.

Deffendall has said Lafayette had the same policy last school year.

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