Security Concerns Shift Central, Rogers High School Football Venues

Friday, September 20th 2013, 10:03 am
By: News On 6

Citing security concerns, Tulsa Public Schools said Friday, all home football games for Will Rogers High School and Central High School are changing.

The to schools are giving up their home turf, after police responded to repeated post-game incidents. The first two weeks of the high school football season brought disturbances at S.E. Williams Stadium, which is a shared venue for TPS teams.

Some parents at Central High School weren't happy about the news. They said moving the teams because of the incidents is too extreme.

Starting next week, Central High School's home's games will be played at Milton Stadium at 1919 West 40th Street. And Will Rogers High School home are moving to S.E. Williams Stadium at 1514 East Zion. They had previously been held at Milton Stadium.

9/6/2013 Related Story: Group Brawls Near S.E. Williams Stadium, Challenges Police To Gunfight

"It's just very inconvenient for us, because we work really hard to keep our schools safe," said Rose Collins, who has a child at Central.

Some TPS high schools share stadiums. Central plays its home games on Booker T. Washington's campus. But after two incidents in two straight weeks - one fight, one gun - the district is taking Central's home field away.

The district said most of the post-game brawls aren't started by TPS students.

"They use the venue as a platform to cause problems," said TPS Police Chief Gary Rudick.

Rudick said non-students, suspended students and just people who live in nearby neighborhoods start these fights.

Tulsa Public Schools Police broke up a group fight near the S.E. Williams Stadium on Sept. 6, in which a large group of 20-somethings reportedly said they would initiate a shoot out with officers, TPS police said. The group threatened to pull weapons and went to their vehicles to retrieve the weapons, but instead sped away without chase.

Last week, two students attempted to bring a shotgun into the stadium but were arrested.

Some parents said their kids are being punished for something they didn't do.

"It's sad, because you want your kids to be safe, but we're shuffling around like our kids are the ones making the problem and they're not and that's unfair," Collins said.

As always, student ID's will be checked at the gate, but now only the schools playing will allow their fans inside, and nobody will be allowed to hangout in the football field parking lots.

Also, junior high students attending games will need to be accompanied by an adult. And tickets will not be sold after the third quarter in the final game of the night.

"If you're not there to support the kids we really don't need you there," Rudick said.

"I thought that everything was fine at Booker, and thought that it was a good venue for them, since they've been there for awhile. And now finding out today that they're going to have to go another location, it's kind of disheartening," said parent Schnea Nealy.

Parents are hoping the crowds follow them.

"I wonder if we'll have as much student support, since it's further away from where the home school is," Nealy said.

At this Friday night's game, Central played McLain and the police presence was high around the stands.