HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It's finally Friday, and for some local high schools, it's the kickoff to football season. With the season comes excitement, but it also brings up the importance of game security for all the fans.
Myrtle Beach High School may not be hitting the turf here Friday, but school officials never stop thinking of ways to keep everyone safe. Since it's is one of the schools to draw in thousands of fans, WMBF News asked the principal what they do to keep you safe. He says their method they have in place works and it will continue to.
Everyone enters the game under metal detectors through the same gate. At this point, you're also subject to a bag and wand search. Items like weapons, alcohol, pocket knives and even food and drinks will get confiscated before making it into the stadium.
If you're not following the rules, nearly 30 staff members are on hand to make sure you do. That includes administration, employed teachers, the school security officer and police. The school has an agreement with Myrtle Beach Police so they never have less than 5 uniformed officers a game.
While the rules seem simple, they're enforced at not just football, but all school games. If you see someone not obeying the rules, don't be afraid to speak up.
"If they'll just find one of us, let us know that they've seen something, we're happy to go over and try to address the situation immediately. It could result, if it's bad enough, it could result in that person or those persons being asked to leave the stadium, and we have done that before," said Principal John Washburn.
All these safety measures do come with a price. While the topic of security often comes up with the Horry County School Board, especially as we head into football season, board chair Joe Defeo said extra funds have not been put aside. This time, last school year, plans were a little different, the district handed over $300,000 to help schools across the county cover some of the cost of security for sporting events.
Paying for security at these events is much different than security in school. Anyone can come to games, and other teams are involved.
Traffic control, police officers, security at metal detector screenings, can all add up and get costly, so, while each school is required to have security, the school board says individual schools can implement how they do it- whether they use employees or volunteers.
For Myrtle Beach High, they pay Myrtle Beach Police and employees to work throughout the season. As far as the school board goes, they say they'll continue to enforce and support safety.
"I believe as time goes on, you'll see more money allocated. There's nothing on the table this year but the issue comes up every single year, security comes up every single year," Defeo said.
There have been no major changes to this year's school security plans, but as times change and more students get enrolled, leaders will have to revisit this topic at a later date.