DARLINGTON — Security will be tighter at all Darlington County School District football games, Superintendent Tim Newman said Aug. 31.
The decision comes in response to the reported fighting at the Aug. 25 Hartsville at Darlington High School matchup, Newman said.
Multiple fights erupted in the stands. Play was halted, all the fans were removed from the stadium and the grounds were cleared.
After the Aug. 25 fights, Darlington County Sheriff James Hudson Jr. said “There were issues with spectators and fans fighting and being disorderly to the point where the game had to be stopped. The stands were cleared and all spectators had to leave.”
Eventually the game resumed with the stands empty. Hartsville pulled off a 55-26 victory.
“We will not tolerate the behavior that was shown at last Friday night’s football game,” Newman said. “Our families and our student-athletes deserve a safe and violence-free atmosphere. The District and school administrators will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the highest standards of safety for our students, staff and community.”
Darlington County school leaders met with city of Darlington representatives and city and county law enforcement officials to determine ways of increasing safety and improving the fan experience at district sporting events.
Darlington High School is on the road Sept. 1 against Lugoff-Elgin High School. The Falcons’ (1-1) next home game is Sept. 8 against Cheraw High School.
Hartsville High School (1-0) plays host to Camden High School Sept. 1.
Lamar High School (1-1) will spend the next three Fridays on the road. The Silver Foxes next home game is Sept. 22 against Kingstree High School.
New security protocols, including a larger law enforcement presence and heightened school supervision, will be in place for Hartsville’s home game.
In addition to increased security, all Darlington County School District football games will follow these rules:
Darlington County School District high school students must show a school ID to enter the stadium.All students in eighth grade or below, must be accompanied by an adult 21-years old or older.No loitering will be allowed inside or outside stadiums.Attendees will be expected to remain in their seats or move directly to and from the concession stands and restrooms.All attendees must pass through the weapons detectors to enter the stadium.Only a clear carry bag, per the district’s clear bag program, will be permitted.No tickets will be sold after halftime.No re-entry will be permitted.All Darlington County School District facilities are tobacco free. Anyone caught smoking or vaping will be asked to leave the stadium.No running or horseplay will be allowed.Anyone not following the rules will be removed from the premises and banned from all district events.
Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd praised actions taken by the Darlington Police Department and Darlington County Sheriff’s Office at the Aug. 25 game.
“They swiftly stopped potentially explosive situations and protected the public and athletes,” Boyd said. “The city of Darlington firmly stands behind the Darlington County School District in the steps they are taking to protect citizens and property.”
City of Darlington Police Chief James Davis said he was proud of the men and women of the police department. They are committed to protecting residents of Darlington and visitors.
“It is sad that a few unruly individuals had to spoil a football game for thousands of people, but we remain committed to our duty to protect the public,” Davis said.
August 31, 2023 | Post and Courier, The: Web Edition Articles (Charleston, SC)
Author/Byline: Chris Day firstname.lastname@example.org | Section: Pee Dee