Guns at Games

August 7, 2017

This article first appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Athletic Management

Most people agree that the presence of guns at sporting events is not a good idea. Administrators at Granite City (Ill.) High School feel strongly enough about the issue that they have chosen to leave their athletic conference.

The impetus for the decision was a league boys’ basketball game in late February at East St. Louis (Ill.) High School, during which a fight broke out and a gun was seen. The contest was quickly canceled, the gym was put on lockdown, and police escorted Granite City players, coaches, and fans out of the gym.

In response, Granite City Athletic Director John Moad approached schools in the Southeastern Conference with the idea of installing metal detectors at all league venues. The idea was rejected, and the Granite City school board voted unanimously to exit the league.

“We were met with some mixed reactions and I understand and respect the other districts’ decisions,” Moad says. “Some of them don’t like the perception a metal detector creates when you come into their facility.

“But we felt like something needed to be done, and if we weren’t all on the same page, then maybe it was time for us to move on,” he continues. “We decided that we had to do what was best for our kids, our community, and our school.”

Granite City had purchased and installed two metal detectors for their home basketball and football games several years prior with money from a safety grant. “We have found that they not only keep out weapons, but also eliminate some of the alcohol problems because the police are standing at the entrance running the detectors,” Moad says. “Each district is different, but it has been very successful here.

“You can’t keep everything out,” he continues. “But in today’s world I think you need to do what you can to make your facility as safe as possible.” 

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