Norfolk Police and school officials held a press conference Wednesday morning, to discuss the recent decision to move football games to Saturday following the shooting death of a high school student.
Norfolk Public Schools announced Tuesday that the remaining high school varsity football games in the city will be played on Saturday afternoons.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Samuel T. King said despite Norfolk Police providing security along with school security staff, "we're not omnipresent, 24 hours of each day."
During Wednesday's news conference, Dr. King called upon all Norfolk citizens to "join together as a united front to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. When you see or hear about incidents or concerns involving youth in our neighborhoods speak up, contact the authorities."
School officials decided to make schedule changes after Lake Taylor High School student David White was shot and killed leaving last week's Booker T. Washington football game.
"Hopefully this will deter something like this from happening in the future," parent Robert Terrell, Sr. said. "I think it will be a good thing."
During the conference, Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith said he supports moving the football games to daytime hours.
"Anything in the daylight helps us out cause we can see, anything in the day then it is at night so it gives us an extra edge to be able to see anything we might be concerned about," Goldsmith said.
King said officers and deputies have recently stepped up to increase security at school events and says he hopes a new Crime Line texting feature, due at the end of October, will appeal to younger people.
The schedule is still being finalized, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather.
Administrators had taken similar actions in 2008 following a rash of violence and also moved Norfolk high school football games to Saturday afternoons. However, this only lasted for one year and games went back to Friday evenings in 2009.
The schedule for the upcoming weekend's games will be as follows:
- Lake Taylor vs. Maury - at Lake Taylor - 3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6
- Granby vs. Churchland - at ODU's Powhatan Stadium - 3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6
- Booker T. Washington vs. Norview - at Norview - 3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6
Mather released the following statement regarding the schedule change:
Norfolk Public Schools has been involved in a strong collaboration with the Norfolk Police Department and the Norfolk Sheriff's Department to ensure safety and security at all of our football games. This has included additional Police patrols before, during and after games, and Norfolk Police officers and Sheriff's deputies working alongside our NPS security team to screen fans as they come into our games, and to assist with monitoring the crowds throughout.
Although Friday night's shooting did not occur at or near the game, David White was one of our students, and his death has saddened our entire community. Dr. King has asked that our games be moved to Saturdays during the day as one additional measure.
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