KIRTLAND — With the safety of students and patrons as a top concern, schools in District 1-4A will institute new security protocols for their campus events.
Piedra Vista, Farmington High, Aztec and Kirtland Central will implement the protocols, which include identification checks, bag searches and the use of metal detectors.
The protocols will be tested during pre-district basketball games before being put into place at the beginning of the district basketball season on Jan. 31.
School officials wanted the policies in place as a preventative measure before any safety issues arise.
"I think we're just trying to get out in front on this, and you'll see this statewide before long," said KCHS Athletic Director Kevin Graham.
Every spectator, including adults and students, will be required to show a photo ID before being allowed admission into any event.
Elementary and middle school students will need to be accompanied by an adult.
"High school students with their IDs will be fine, but when we're talking about kids who are 10, 11 or 12, there should be an adult present," said Piedra Vista Athletic Director Kelly Thur. "They probably shouldn't be there without some sort of supervision."
Any group of students without high school IDs will need an adult present when they enter an event or they will not be granted admission.
Spectators will also be subject to bag checks and the use of metal detections wands upon entering by staff security guards.
Patrons will not be permitted to bring in bags larger than a diaper or camera bag.
Purses and backpacks will be permitted, but will also be subject to random searches.
School administrators said they do not anticipate an increase in security costs because of the new protocols.
"There won't be any added costs on our end. We have security at theses games already, and we'll reallocate the people we have working," Thur said.
Fans seem to understand why the schools want to increase security at their events.
"I can see why they're doing it, especially with how crazy these games get sometimes," said Kirtland native Barrett Mclendon, who graduated from KCHS in 2001. "You just never know what can happen with how crazy the world is today."
Following the games, the schools will also institute a fire/evacuation drill policy, according to the press release.
After the game, eight minutes will be placed on the clock.
Once the eight minutes is over, there will be a four-minute evacuation period with an alarm sounding during which all patrons must leave the gym, according to a press release.
After exiting the gym, fans can remain in the common areas of the building while waiting for players, Graham said.
Administrators are aware that the policies will likely result in delays for entry. They advise fans to arrive early to avoid missing the start of the events.
"I think people will understand we're just trying to look out for their own interests," Graham said.
The policies will be adjusted during the test period or district season if the administrations see a need to make a change, FHS Athletic Director Don Lorett said.
"We'll be listening to any feedback from the community and continue to make changes as we go," Lorett said.
District 1-3A, which includes Shiprock and Bloomfield, does not have a similar policy in place yet.
Shiprock Athletic Director Don Story said a meeting with all four schools' athletic directors, including Thoreau and Wingate, is scheduled Monday in Gallup, and the administrators will discuss whether to implement such regulations.