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GCS to implement clear bag policy at athletic events starting next week

The school district said the change is one of several updates being made as the district reviews safety procedures on its campuses.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools will require clear bags for anyone entering athletic events starting Sept. 23.

School officials said purses, backpacks, and other traditional bags will not be allowed at sporting events beginning next Friday.

Executive Director of Emergency Management at GCS, Mike Richey said every policy added just adds more security for students, staff, and now fans. 

"There's no one, single answer to safety in our schools. So, this adds one more layer and if we can continue to add layers to our safety and make us a little safer every single day, then we will achieve our goal here at the school. So, this is about making the students safe, making the fans safe, and making the stands safe," Richey said. 

“Acceptable bags must be made of clear plastic or vinyl, including gallon-sized or smaller zip storage bags,” read a statement in a news release.

Officials said small clutch bags, diaper bags, and bags used for medical supplies, such as insulin pumps, will be allowed but may be searched.

“The safety of our students, staff, and guests is a top priority and we will continue to explore additional safety measures in partnership with community partners and local law enforcement,” GCS superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley said. “We are constantly enhancing our emergency and safety protocols and procedures.”

GCS says this isn't a restriction on items visitors have previously been able to bring into stadiums or gyms, so a camera and other devices can be carried into games if they are not in their own bag.

Southern Guilford High School teacher and coach, Scott Tyson, said he believes the clear bag policy promotes safety at events and should also be used in schools. "I think that the metal detectors are good but I think just giving that extra layer of security, you never know what can get in, some people can make composite guns and stuff that doesn’t come off on metal detectors."

Fans carrying bags that do not meet the criteria will be turned away from the venue. They will have the opportunity to take the prohibited bag to their car before returning.

"I think the more security for the schools is better so all the kids feel safe," Tyson said. 

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools already implement the clear bag policy and are heading into their second year with it in place. 

The school district said the change is one of several updates being made as the district reviews safety procedures on its campuses.

School officials said body scanners will be used at home football games for the rest of the season.

GCS told WFMY that a clear bookbag policy for students inside schools has NOT been discussed. 

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