The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association maintained its stance of limited interference with school security protocols after a district superintendent requested action, but the Board of Directors hasn’t ruled out future policy updates.
The OSSAA Board addressed the topic early in its regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting when executive director David Jackson shared a letter from Mid-Del Public Schools superintendent Rick Cobb, who was in attendance.
In his Aug. 30 public correspondence, Cobb asked Jackson and the OSSAA “to work with its membership to develop specific guidelines for the competitions that happen under your sanction.” This was a response to three separate gun-related incidents in Oklahoma during Week 0 of high school football, including the shooting that killed 16-year-old Midwest City student Cordea Carter at the Choctaw-Del City game.
Although the board brainstormed some ideas, Jackson reiterated the OSSAA’s position of leaving security policies up to individual school districts. He also referenced OSSAA Board of Directors Policy XVI as an existing “minimum standard” for game-day security.
This policy states school administrators, primarily those at the home school, are accountable for “the general organization, management and supervision of student bodies and crowds before, during and following each event.” The regulation instructs administrators to “provide adequate security” and “provide for a safe departure for participants, coaches and spectators” but does not further elaborate.
“Basically, it’s giving you (control) as school administrators who are going to know more about security measures that you need at your place much more than this staff does,” Jackson said. “You deal with it every day, and you’re better equipped to know what you need in place to keep your people safe.”
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Board member Matt Holder, Sulphur’s superintendent, suggested gathering a small committee to evaluate the policy and update it as needed.
Millwood superintendent and board member Cecilia Robinson-Woods said an overall “standard of security” could be necessary to avoid overpolicing of certain communities. She said when Millwood, a predominantly Black school, travels to basketball games, she has frequently noticed significantly more police officers patrolling the Millwood side than the other side of the gym.
An off-duty Del City police officer shot a 42-year-old man in the chest at the Choctaw game, and Robinson-Woods identified the victim as a Millwood parent.
Robinson-Woods suggested establishing a standard ratio so the number of officers at an event can correlate with the expected crowd size regardless of the teams competing.
“If we set a standard, then potentially everybody would be policed the same way,” Robinson-Woods said. “… If there was at least a reference for (the number of) either security or police (officers) based on the crowd size, it gives every school an idea of what to expect and who’s there.”
Robinson-Woods also noted the responsibility of administrators to stay vigilant at school events.
While the OSSAA hasn’t provided specific guidelines, some administrators are taking matters into their own hands. For instance, Mid-Del Public Schools has metal detectors at athletic venues.
At Deer Creek Public Schools, administrators tightened safety protocols ahead of last Friday’s home football game against Edmond Memorial. Metal detectors were installed, and stadium entry was prohibited after halftime.
“Everybody worked together, which was great,” said athletic director Bill Bays. “I’m a perfectionist, so there were a couple things here and there – not so much from a safety perspective, but just from an event perspective – that I want to clean up Friday night. But based on the (quick) turnaround, I thought it was great. Both sets of fans were super, very understanding.”
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● The Board of Directors approved the proposed Class 6A-I football districts for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. The Board had approved all other football districts in its August meeting, but Class 6A-I was delayed because of a since-resolved clerical error in the district assignments.
● Tulsa Union junior quarterback Shaker Reisig has received an offer from Oklahoma State. Reisig threw for 2,656 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore.
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