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DCPS reinforcing safety protocols at high school football games

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Friday night means high school football action as friends and family pack the bleachers to watch. It was week one for Northeast Florida schools and it all comes after last Friday’s shooting after a First Coast High School football game.

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Parents who spoke to Action News Jax for the Sandalwood Saints game against Ribault Trojans said there shouldn’t be any concerns because it’s high school football.

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Duval County Public Schools said there weren’t any plans to increase security at games but reinforced safety protocols already in place. While some thought there was more security, others didn’t notice a difference but most parents who spoke with Action News Jax said there weren’t too many safety concerns.

“It should be safe, it’s a high school football game, everybody should be safe,” Edward Bell said.

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Edward Bell is a Ribault Trojans parent and said he went home just prior to the shooting last week when Ribault was against First Coast High School, but said he isn’t worried moving forward.

“It’s crazy man, we’re just trying to come out to a high school football game and all this unnecessary nonsense going on,” Bell said.

Other spectators like Buddy Geis say they have no concerns.

“I’m not worried about that at all,” he said.

Those safety measures being reinforced include screening for firearms and weapons, keeping fans in the stands unless they’re entering or leaving, in line for concessions or using the restroom. Plus, a no re-entry policy and socializing in parking lots and sitting in cars outside game hours is not allowed.

Calvin Thompson is a Sandalwood Saints parent and said the check-in process seemed a little more serious.

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“There’s normally 2 at the gate, officers, maybe one JSO officer at other gates but other than that they kind of have triple the amount they normally have,” Thompson said.

Bell thought otherwise.

“It looks the same, but it might be a little beefed up, it should with what happened last week,” Bell said.

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DCPS Police Chief Greg Burton told Action News Jax earlier this week that information is the first line of defense to protect students and children, saying they’re going to do that at every game moving forward.

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