School board debates ‘clear bags’ for sports events

By Bobby Bryant

The Darlington County school board was asked last week to think about allowing students and adult fans to carry only “clear bags,” made of transparent plastic, into athletics events at county schools.
“A lot of districts have already implemented these policies,” Larry Johnson, assistant superintendent of administration and operations for the county school district, told the board during a Feb. 24 work session. “It’s something that we wanted to look at and wanted to see what the board’s interest is.”
He said “an incident at Hartsville last year” started discussions about a “clear-bag-only” policy, at least for football and basketball games. “They just provide a sense of safety for our fans and our students.”
Board member Wanda Hassler said a “clear-bag” policy might not help. “A clear bag doesn’t do any good if you wrap whatever you’ve got and you put it in the bag. Are we also saying that we’re going to have people checking clear bags?”
“You’re going to have to take that second step,” Hassler said. “Just putting (things) in a clear bag is not going to do anything.”
She added that if this kind of policy is eventually OK’d by the district, it should apply “across the board” to all athletics events.
“Clear bag” policies are becoming more and more common at public-school and college athletics events.
Last fall, School District 5 of Richland and Lexington counties began such a policy at all sporting events. Also, the district is using metal detectors at varsity sports events at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools. At the same time, Columbia school district Richland 1 started a clear-bag policy for football and basketball games.

Author: Stephan Drew

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