BRADENTON — Starting this weekend, the police presence at Manatee County School District football games will be increased, school officials announced today.
Other school events will also be affected.
Law enforcement and school faculty will attend all sporting events and other school functions, according to a district press release.
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said it is possible officers may use a hand-held metal detector to screen those entering the stadium.
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District officials are considering raising event ticket prices to offset the cost of additional security, according to the release.
Radzilowski said the department has not received any specific information that there might be trouble at the game.
The increase in security comes on the heels of a Bayshore High School cheerleader being fatally gunned down near Southeast High School on Sept. 4. The shooting took place about 30 minutes after the end of the Southeast-Palmetto football game.
“Nothing is more important than providing a safe and secure environment for our children to participate in educational opportunities, and that extends to extracurricular activities,” said schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal.
The only football game in Manatee on Friday involving public schools will be the clash between Southeast High and Manatee High at Hawkins Stadium in Bradenton.
“It’s one of the most highly attended games of the year so we are encouraging fans to arrive early because we are increasing security measures,” said school district spokesman Mike Barber.
Thousands are expected to attend, Barber said.
Admission gates will open at 6 p.m.
Backpacks will not be permitted at the game, according to school officials.