3 more schools tighten rules on kids at football games

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 2:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Burke County and Jefferson County in Georgia and Allendale County in South Carolina are the latest school districts to adjust policies at football games with an eye toward student safety.

In Burke County, the new rules include that children under 14 won’t be allowed in the stadium “unless accompanied by a responsible adult.”

Children are to remain with their parents during the game, and parents are asked to escort small children to and from the restrooms and concession area.

Similar rules at Allendale-Fairfax High School “are in place to offer an environment that promotes safety and a positive fan experience,” Superintendent Dr. Margaret Gilmore wrote Wednesday.

“With the increase in undesirable behaviors and the excessive number of young children remaining on campus following the completion of games, these procedures will help eliminate those concerns,” she continued.

Students in eighth grade or below now will not be allowed to enter an athletic event without a parent or guardian over age 21.

Also, all fans must sit in the stands. No one will be allowed to walk or stand around during the game except for going to the restroom and/or the concession stand, Gilmore wrote.

Parents and guardians must also remain with their child at all times.

The rules are similar to ones recently adopted in McDuffie County.

Jefferson County also recently updated its rules to require that items brought into stadiums be carried in clear bags only, so the contents will be visible. Also in that district, all patrons must remain seated in the stands during the game.

Similar to Jefferson County, Aiken County also tweaked its rules recently, requiring that belongings be brought to games only inside clear bags of certain dimensions.

Columbia County hasn’t changed its policies, and neither has Richmond County, even though a 17-year-old was recently found with a gun at the football game between Laney and Hephzibah high schools.

The rule changes come in the aftermath of the Texas school massacre and frequent school lockdowns due to threats of violence that are often fueled by social media challenges.