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Tyrone Area institutes new security measures for events

The Tyrone Area School District has instituted a series of safety measures for athletic events including Friday night’s football game at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
Administrators said the new rules will not only be in effect for tomorrow’s game, but will also be in effect for winter sports and future football games. Friday’s game, win or lose, will by Tyrone’s last this season at the football field. If Tyrone advances in the district playoffs or eventually onto state playoffs, those games will be at neutral sites. It is possible Tyrone’s field could be one of the sites for other teams. The new rules would apply to any such games played there.
The decision to institute the new measures comes on the heels of an incident at last week’s game that left a 70-year-old Penn Cambria bus driver hospitalized. A Tyrone Area student was arrested after the alleged assault of the driver who intervened in an altercation that took place between the 16-year-old teen and a Penn Cambria student.
The Tyrone student is facing misdemeanor charges of simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. Tyrone Borough Police Chief Joseph Beachem said the charges are being filed in the Blair County juvenile court. He said the department decided against filing a felony charge of aggravated assault against the youth. He said the evidence wasn’t there to prove intent or that the teen had “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
The youth was released to a parent after his arrest and has been suspended by the school.
School officials said the new measures are not only a result of that incident, but other situations that have happened at the games.
They said anyone who violates the new rules will be told to leave the game immediately. They will be placed on a “no trespass on school property” list, which will remain in effect throughout the winter season. Those asked to leave the school’s property will also be given a hand stamp in an effort to prevent their return to the event.
The new rules are as follows:
• obscene or abusive language is not permitted;
• unsportsmanlike conduct, which includes taunting and spitting, is not permitted;
• no one may be under the bleachers for any reason;
• if an individual leaves the game at the end of the third quarter, they must return through the main ticket gate. All other gates will be closed after the third quarter and
• Tyrone Area students must dress appropriately. The school will not allow excessive body paint.
The district has also taken other action to address the security issues. Superintendent Dr. William N. Miller said the school has been in touch with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association regarding measures. The district sent a letter to the PIAA regarding the incident last week and to outline security measures and efforts being made to improve matters.
The district will work with administrators from the opposing team to determine the number of buses, other vehicles and equipment that will be on school property. Five VIP passes will be issued to the visiting district to allow them to use the cordoned off parking area designated for buses. A plan is also being instituted to barricade off streets around the field to isolate parking for buses, equipment trucks and VIP parking.
The district said Hamilton at 16th Street and Garfield at Hamilton will be blocked along with 17th Street at Hamilton and right before the alley past where the players go on the field. Those with handicapped plates will still have access to the VIP area.
The district is also adding two security personnel and one additional Tyrone police officer to help aid security. The move brings the total number from 10 to 13 people involved with security issues.
The district is also going to be enforcing a previously established measure for elementary-age children. Those children must be accompanied by an adult while in the stadium. Parents had been informed of this prior to the start of the football season. However, since the measure hadn’t been adhered to by some attendees, the district is sending out another letter to parents adding additional measures. The child must be in the presence of the adult at the time they are admitted at the gate. The child will not gain admittance to the field without an adult.
Once inside, if a child is found unsupervised they will be taken back to the adult. If they are not with an adult, they will not be permitted to stay. Once a child has been taken back to an adult, if the child is again found unsupervised, both the child and adult will have to leave the stadium. A hand stamp will be used to indicate they have been returned to a parent or guardian once. The hand stamp will also be used to prevent readmittance.