MIKE NIETO: Local schools proactive in security at sporting events

2013-01-24T18:30:00Z 2014-03-21T23:38:20Z MIKE NIETO: Local schools proactive in security at sporting eventsMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 24, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Just how much security is too much or too little?

More than a few fans and parents have probably raised that question after a Morgan Park High School student was killed Jan. 16 after the Simeon-Morgan Park boys basketball game at Chicago state University.

The local schools have been proactive about security and recognized there could be a problem rather than try to ignore it.

Bloom Township athletic director Joe Reda maybe summed it up best.

“It’s about being proactive – We go into each game with a game plan – just like the coach does. We learn from our mistakes and try to anticipate what might occur,” Reda said. "You always have to plan and don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you.“

Bloom Township and the Southland Athletic Conference have moved starting times to 6:30 p.m. for events and Bloom even plays all of its home games on Saturday afternoons. Reda said the 6:30 start time was not just for safety.

"We realized with late games, it affected deadlines for the newspapers," Reda said. "We wanted to make sure our games get in."

District 205, which is Thornridge, Thornton and Thornwood high schools, were the first ones to take charge. Those schools start at 6:30 and until this year, went several years without night football.

"I think that goes back to the powers that were in charge 10-15 years ago," Thornton athletic director Bill Mosel said. "We all have good security and the early start gets everyone home by 9 o'clock."

 T.F. North will have extra security tonight because a big crowd is expected when the Meteors host Hillcrest. North athletic director Dale Pietranczyk said North has worked with the Calumet City police and have a good number of school personnel on hand. Plus, North's games start at 6 p.m.

There will be extra security on Feb. 1 when North visits rival T.F. South for a boys-girls doubleheader.

"We will let the North fans out first, then the South fans just to be cautious," South athletic director Marc Brewe said. "We work well with the Lansing police and we have been lucky that our students are pretty good and we haven't had trouble."

Washington, a Chicago public high school, takes extra measures for school and on-campus sporting events said athletic director Joe Pancer.

"We have an extra (metal) detector we use for sporting events," Pancer said. "Our (basketball) games start at 5 (o'clock) and we just have extra security.

"You can never be too careful."

 This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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