Clarksville residents react to new high school football spectator rules

West Creek High School Football
Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 31, 2022

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Instead of celebrating touchdowns, fans and players had to get down and take cover after shots were fired at a West Creek High School football game in Clarksville. It happened during Week One of the high school football season.

Despite the panic and confusion, thankfully, no one was hurt. Those responsible weren't even enrolled in the school district.

That's why the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System is implementing new policies for home high school football games. Fans are encouraged to bring clear bags and leave their purses, bags and backpacks at home. There are a few exceptions for student-athletes, cheerleaders, musicians, referees and school employees.

There's also a new adult supervision rule. Unless minors attend one of the community's high schools, they have to be accompanied by an adult that's preferably a parent or guardian.

NewsChannel 5 walked around Downtown Clarksville in hopes of getting feedback on these sweeping changes.

"It’s sad we’re in the day and time where we have to have a policy like that," said Ava Freeman, who's about to open up a new business in Clarksville.

"Safety is the most important thing. We want our kids on the field to be safe, so, we also want our fans to come and enjoy it to be safe also," said James Taylor, a Clarksville resident.

While pretty much everyone we spoke to supported the changes, some thought the West Creek scenario was just an isolated incident.

"We generally don’t have any issues. I’m a criminal defense attorney down here and I love it down in Clarksville; it’s pretty safe," said Terria Blunt.

"The children sometimes want to come to their games and just have fun, so I think it’s kind of sad for them, but I understand the safety," said Freeman.

District leaders said you'll also see more law enforcement at games, all in the hope that screams of fear will go rightfully back to cheers.

"I think if the city of Clarksville will get behind it, I think it will keep a lot of people safe," said Taylor.

A CMCSS spokesperson confirmed to NewsChannel 5 that these changes will apply to all opposing team fans as well and will be enforced by school administration, gate security and an enhanced law enforcement presence at each game.

CMCSS may also extend similar policies for other athletic and community events, but say they will notify parents and students before they go into effect.