Violence related to football games — including a shooting that injured three teenagers and one adult near De Anza High Friday night — has prompted the West Contra Costa Unified School District to start varsity games two hours earlier, to increase security personnel and to restrict attendance to district students with proper identification unless they are accompanied by an adult, the district announced today.
Instead of 7 p.m. on Friday, varsity games will now be played at 5 p.m., the district said. Junior varsity games will be shifted to Thursdays at 5 p.m.
In other changes, the district says school administrators or police officers can now cancel games at any time for safety concerns; that security personnel and administrators will be increased at games; that periodic announcements will be made during games detailing behavior expectations; that both teams will be required to meet on the field before the game to promote sportsmanship; and that they will require all spectators to remain seated during sporting events, except when the stadium is full, in which case standing will be in a prearranged controlled area, the district said.
The changes are in effect for the games being played this week, when Hercules High hosts Kennedy High and Richmond High hosts Vallejo High.
“The safety of WCCUSD students, staff, and community members is our top priority and these changes will allow our students, athletes, staff and fans to focus on enjoying the games and the educational experiences they offer,” Superintendent Matthew Duffy said. “Some of the measures will be inconvenient and there may be some disagreement, but staff regularly meets to review and refine our safety procedures. We will continue to gather input from students, staff, and community members and will consider implementing those ideas as appropriate or practical.”
The community has been reeling after a spate of violence at games, including the shooting that injured teens in the 3300 block of Morningside Drive after the game let out between De Anza and Pinole Valley High. A number of fights occurred during the game, and an incident at Deer Valley High involving a district school several weeks ago caused a game to be stopped, Duffy said in his newsletter addressing the violence.