Manatee schools bring in extra security measures ahead of high school football kickoff

Ahead of the high school football kickoff in Manatee County this Friday, students and spectators will notice some extra security. The changes are happening at all high school sporting events in the county. 

"In the day and age of which we live, we are always looking for ways to step up security at our school and school related events," said Michael Barber with the school district.

That includes a clear bag policy resuming, along with wanding or walking through a weapon's detection device. The district also brought in larger fences. Last May, students were able to hop over the fence to get off and on property, but that's no longer the case.

"We have seven high schools in Manatee County now," said Barber. "They all have 15 to 20 sports, it’s not like all of these measures will be employed at every single athletic event, but we will have enhanced security at all of our athletic events."

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A 13-year-old was arrested last May after firing a shot at the end of the fourth quarter during Palmetto High School's spring football game. 

"You just never know what will happen, especially because we didn't know that would happen at the game. It was just out of nowhere," said Alma Gomez, whose sister was at the game.

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The district said the shooting was not the sole reason for the changes. Their safety and security department went campus by campus to look and see where they could improve. 

"I feel more comfortable that there will be more security, and they will be checking with like metal detectors, it’s just so you feel safer," Gomez said.