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Security Screening for Large Events

Parents, Guardians, and community members,

To best provide students, parents, staff, and spectators with a safe experience at after-school events, SMCPS is requesting your cooperation in implementing new security measures. 

Beginning with fall sports for the school year 2022 - 2023, SMCPS is implementing procedures for school staff members and on-site law enforcement officers to identify prohibited items and reduce the likelihood of contraband being on a school campus. Prohibited items include weapons, laser pointers, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and electronic cigarettes. Outside food, drinks, and non-service animals are also prohibited.

During designated events, spectators should consider carrying a clear bag.  Spectators carrying items such as bookbags, totes, or carry-alls will be directed to an alternate line where staff will inspect the contents using a magnetometer.

FAQs Regarding Security Screening

The following are frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will assist us all in enhancing security for events and are provided for your consideration.

At what events will the clear bag or no bag procedure be encouraged?

The new procedures will be in place at all varsity football and basketball games and other events as deemed appropriate.

How many bags should each person bring to events?

It is recommended that you consider carrying one large clear bag and a small purse-type clutch or wallet.  A gallon Ziploc-style bag is a readily available clear bag that meets these requirements.  The small purse-type clutch can be used to carry more personal items but remains easy to search.  Every spectator, including children, is allowed to bring one clear bag.

Can attendees carry cameras, binoculars, smartphones, or tablets separately from what they put in a clear bag?

Yes.  Binoculars or cameras can be carried into the event venue as long as they are carried by hand or placed in a clear bag.  Bags designed specifically to carry these items would be subject to wanding and visual inspection at the point of entry.  This list would include, but is not limited to, backpacks, binocular cases, oversized purses or totes, computer bags, and “fanny/shoulder packs.”

What happens if I arrive at the event with a bag that requires inspection?

Carried items not meeting the requested specifications will require wanding of the items at the point of entry.  A trained school staff member will assist with this process.  Bags cannot be left unattended anywhere on the campus.  You will be permitted to return to your vehicle to store items you cannot bring to the event.

If I have certain medically necessary items that I need to bring into the event that will not fit in a clear bag, what do I do?

An exception will be made for all medically necessary items after proper inspection.  A school staff member at the gate will be able to assist with these situations.

Are all purses subject to inspection?

No.  Small clutch purses, with or without a handle or strap, are permitted along with the clear bag and will not require wanding or search.  We encourage attendees to attend the games by limiting the items they carry into the event.   As stated, this procedure has been created to balance attendees' needs with public safety.

What happens if a gun, knife, or other prohibited item is found in a bag during an inspection?

As before, on-site law enforcement officers will be immediately notified if any contraband is located on school property.  Guns, knives, drugs, and alcohol are all prohibited on campus.

Will the media or student-athletes participating in the event be allowed to bring bags into the venue?

Yes.  Members of the media with a press credential will be allowed to bring equipment bags into the venue; however, they are subject to inspection.  School staff and student-athletes actively participating in the event at the venue may also carry their equipment bags; however, they are also subject to inspection.

In closing...

As in the past, we will continue implementing safety and emergency response measures for all after-school events. 

Additional Information

For more information, contact the Department of Safety and Security at 301-475-5511 ext. 32238.