Dozen high school football games being moved in wake of triple shooting
Games expected to draw big crowds to be played during the day, not at night
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools will be changing the dates and times of about a dozen high-profile high school football games in the wake of Friday night's triple shooting after a football game at Raines High School.
Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene announced Monday afternoon that a dozen high school football games expected to draw big crowds will be moved to either Saturday mornings or 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting this weekend.
Natasha Morrison, who works at Lee High School, tweeted:
News4Jax has also learned that the Raines at First Coast game will also be moved to Saturday, September 1st at 10:00 a.m.
Greene emphasized that the games anticipated to have high attendance numbers will be played during the day, not at night.
"We are working to confirm officials and other game day logistical details but will release the full set of other changes later this week," Greene said.
In 2015, after several shootings that included the murder of a First Coast High School student, the district moved a scrimmage game between First Coast and Ed White High School from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m., and closed the game to fans.
News4Jax sports reporter, analyst and insider Mark Brunell is the head football coach at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. Brunell said he likes to give his players Saturdays off, but most high school football programs don't operate that way.
"Most programs have the boys come in Saturday, so there will be an adjustment there," Brunell said.
He added that moving games to Saturdays could affect players going through the recruiting process.
"A lot of highly-recruited kids in our area, they take trips. If you're being recruited by Auburn, Alabama -- a lot of guys take advantage of that, getting invited to games on the road," Brunell said. "So it would affect that somewhat. It would be an adjustment, but for the most part, I think schools will be just fine."
The full list of games was not announced at Monday afternoon's news conference, which was held immediately following a closed-door, executive meeting of the Duval County School Board to discuss safety protocols at school functions.
The school board decided to reschedule certain games after a shooting unfolded Friday night as about 4,000 fans left a Raines High School football game.
Joerod Adams, 19, was killed and two teenagers -- a 17-year-old boy who attends Raines High School and a 16-year-old girl who attends Lee High School -- were injured in the shooting outside the football stadium, where the rivalry game between the Lee Generals and the Raines Vikings had just ended. Both wounded students are expected to recover.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said investigators suspect Adams and the teenage boy, who have ties to known gang members, were targeted, and the teenage girl appeared to have been struck by a stray bullet.
Some parents of Raines High students said they're glad security measures are being beefed up, but wish they had happened sooner.
"They should've done that prior to this," parent Seteria Roberts said, adding that more lighting was also needed at Raines' football stadium.
At Monday's news conference, Greene extended her sympathy to the families of the children who were shot Friday night, going on to say the violence “is all too common, all too pervasive, and becoming the new normal.”
She said the school district system and community leaders are equipped to deal with the problem, but parents have got to be more engaged in their children's lives.
Before the executive meeting, Greene said, she met with high school principals, athletic directors and the Duval County School Police Department to discuss safety and security protocols, and what would work best for them.
Mayor Lenny Curry, who was also at the news conference, said he's identified $50,000 in his proposed budget to be used by community and church organizations that are already in the neighborhoods, but wouldn't have access to those types of funds.
After the triple shooting over the weekend, students at three Jacksonville high schools noticed more security on campus Monday morning when they returned to class.
On Monday, extra security was put in place at Raines and Lee high schools, as well as Ribault High School, near Raines in Northwest Jacksonville.
The school district said it followed the proper safety procedures during Friday’s game. In fact, there were more than 50 officers on site and a security check at the gates of the stadium.
Security expert Martin Lopez said Monday night that there is one thing parents, students and high school football fans should expect going forward.
“There’s probably going to be a more, heavier police presence, both inside the stadium and outside in the parking lots," Lopez said. "It’s something people need to understand that if these things are happening, we have to respond to that.”
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