New stadium security

Palestine Independent School District is putting into effect a new system that requires visitors to register for an access card. The district wants to screen applicants to improve security on the field.

Palestine schools have already tightened on-campus security by reducing access points, installing security cameras, and requiring instant background checks. The high school stadium, however has remained open to the community for exercise. High definition cameras record activities on the field, but they don't restrict entry.

A new security system, however, that Palestine Independent School District will introduce next month, will restrict access to the stadium for registered sex offenders, while generally maintaining easy access to the track for community members, schools officials said. The district, however, may suspend privileges if abuse occurs. 

Cards will not be needed for admission to sporting events or other activities in the stadium.

The system will enable the district to monitor who enters the stadium and when, PISD spokesperson Larissa Loveless told the Herald-Press. It includes a new security gate that requires an access card to enter. (Access cards, however, will not be required for scheduled sporting events or school activities.)

To obtain an access card, users are required to register at the district’s administration office with an official ID, and go through an automated background check that will detect registered sex offenders.

Once granted an access card, visitors can continue using the stadium during daylight hours. The system will scan each card, as visitors enter through an automated turn-style gate. Only one person per card may enter at a time.

Stadium users will have two weeks to register before the new system is activated. Installation will occur in February at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Community members may apply for an access card at PISD's central offices, 1007 East Park St. Applicants need to present an official ID and have a new photo made for the card.

When the district tried to limit stadium access 10 years ago, many residents opposed the plan.

District leaders considered the issue carefully before deciding to adopt the new system, Operations Director Jacob Wheeler said. “It’s a unique system, but we feel it’s going to work.”

The district will perform background checks and issue access cards free; users who lose their cards, however, will pay a replacement fee. Registrations will be updated annually. For information, call the PISD Administration office at 903-731-8000.

Recommended for you