Garry Berry Stadium field

Staff at District 11 announced on Aug. 31 that starting Sept. 2, all visitors to Garry Berry Stadium can only carry a 12" x 12" clear bag into the venue. Other backpacks, purses and bags will not be permitted.

Starting Sept. 2 at Garry Berry Stadium, District 11 will implement a “Clear Bag Practice” at the venue.

The district said they expect the move to help maintain safety of patrons and protect those who enter the stadium.

“In D11, safety is a top priority,” the District said in a tweet. “To provide a safe [environment] and expedite entry [into] Garry Berry, there will be a Clear Bag Practice starting 9/2. All guests entering the stadium must have belonging in a clear, plastic bag this is 12” x 12” or smaller. Bags [available] at stadium for $7.”

During the season opening football game between Mitchell and Palmer high schools on Aug. 27, an altercation occurred during halftime.

Chris Noll, D11 director of athletics and activities, said that did not play a role in the new guidance. Noll said they planned to implement the policy during the 2019-2020 season, but coronavirus pandemic dismantled the initiative.  

“We want to make sure our venue is as safe as possible when people come,” Noll said. “Making sure we’re staffed properly for security, continuing to work with the Colorado Springs police department, our clear bag policy, where we allow folks to go in the stadium and where they can’t go such as making sure only authorized personnel is on the sideline and press box. We revisited all our safety protocols. At that point in time we said we wanted to get our clear bag policy up and going.”

Noll said D11 athletic directors started the clear bag policy discussions and their director of security, chief communications officer, executive director of school leadership one of D11’s deputy superintendents provided additional input.

“We heard of a couple of school districts in the Denver area at that time that were doing a clear bag policy,” Noll said. “Nearly every collegiate and professional venue for athletics and concerts have a clear-bag policy. It makes for the stadium to be safer and helps us allows us to expedite folks entering into our facility.”

Security at games do not plan to physically search clear bags so long as they can see items in each bag.

“If there’s a blanket in there, we might ask people to pull out the blanket. During the [20]19 season, we did search bags as they came through the stadium,” Noll said. “We reserve that right to do so to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to provide a safe environment for our spectators.”

Reporter

Marcus Hill is a reporter for the Southeast Express and Schriever Sentinel. He graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication.