New security measures in place at several Barnwell County high school football games

BARNWELL COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) - Planning to attend Barnwell or Williston Football games?  There are some changes you need to know about. 

"Everything that we are putting in place is for the safety of our students and the safety of everyone," John Bradley, Principal of Williston-Elko High School told NewsChannel 6's Shawn Cabbagestalk. 

Officials are now implementing new security efforts following an incident at a previous football game. "We're going to do our level best to provide security at the game to where everybody can enjoy the football game."Captain Carlisle Filyaw with the Barnwell County Sheriff's Office said.

The changes include:
- There will be increased officer presence
- Handheld metal detectors to screen spectators
- Book bags or other large bags will not be allowed.
- Other bags will be subject to searches
- Admission will be charged throughout the duration of games. No one will be allowed to exit and re-enter without paying to re-enter
- All students 8th grade or younger will not be required to attend games with parents or guardians and supervised at all times. 

"The number one goal here is to ensure the safety of everyone that comes to our ballgames and we did have an unfortunate occurred that happened a few weeks back at a ball game. That just kind of made us accelerate some of the changes that we have already been discussing just to improve the overall atmosphere at our ballgames," Bradley said.

The shooting incident happened following a game between Williston-Elko and Allendale-Fairfax.  No one was injured. Robert Pernell, 17, was arrested and charged.  Authorities are still searching for 19-year-old Jaquan Jones.

"We had a spectacular response from our police departments and their support throughout the entire incident was incredible," Bradley recalled. "We had a number of people here from the school that took action. We didn't have to sit back and think about what we were doing. People reacted and did some great things," he added.

If you're heading to Barnwell High School, metal detectors will also be in use at the entrances of W.W. Carter Field.

Williston-Elko Principal John Bradley says with these types of situations, communication is key.
"What we are doing is encouraging our students if you see something going on, and you know it can create a situation that may be dangerous, we need to know. Come and find us, we will have enough people stationed around at each of our ball games that we can easily be found," he added.

School officials will e opening up the gates early at 6 p.m. to accommodate the time that it will take to go through those extra measures.

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