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How Oklahoma high schools are responding after football game shooting

Oklahoma City Public Schools Bus
Oklahoma City Public Schools Bus

Extra security is being put in place at high school athletic events around Oklahoma City following last week’s shooting at a football game in Choctaw that left a 16-year-old dead and several injured. The new measures aim to prevent future violence.

There were other incidents with guns – though not resulting in injuries – at games in Locust Grove and Tulsa. Last year, one teenager was shot and another was hospitalized following ashooting at a game at McClain High School in Tulsa.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel says he hears the community’s concerns about safety at high school games. Here he is at a recent press conference.

“And they want to know, “are my kids safe at school? Are my kids safe at a sporting event? Tell us what you’re doing at OKCPS so that we can breathe a little bit easier,” he said at a Tuesday press conference.

Wayland Cubit is the district’s director of security. He says very few changes need to be made, but there are some, including the use of more advanced weapon detection systems, and a “no-bag” policy that will only allow things like purses and clutches inside stadiums. No backpacks or duffel bags.

“Another thing that we’re going to do that’s a little bit different is we’re going to assign school administrators to the entrances to make sure that only those kids with vested interest in the game, or belong to those particular schools that are competing in that event attend those games,” Cubit said.

The 16-year-old who was killed last week was not a student at either of the schools competing.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association does not have a standard for security at games. Executive Director David Jackson told The Oklahoman the association defers security to individual schools.

"Schools deal with security issues every day and keeping their kids safe at school, so they don't need us to know how to keep people safe," he told the newspaper.

Choctaw does not have metal detectors at the entrances of its stadium. However, Mid-Del Public Schools does have metal detectors at its high school football games.

Mid-Del has a number of other security protocols for upcoming games, including:

  • No re-entrance if a spectator leaves the stadium.
  • Middle and high school students must have a visible school identification card visible. If a visiting school doesn’t have identification cards, an administrator must be there to approve entry of visiting students.
  • All middle and elementary school students must have a parent or guardian present at the event for its entirety.
  • Only clear plastic tote bags are allowed in the stadium, except for small purses or clutches.
  • Firearms, explosives or weapons are also prohibited.

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. Logan spent six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017.
Robby grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, including The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He reported for StateImpact Oklahoma from 2019 through 2022, focusing on education.
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