Beginning with the opening of the 2018-19 athletic season, Greenville County Schools is instituting a clear bag policy for all athletic venues. This means spectators are prohibited from entering athletic venues with camera cases, briefcases, backpacks, cinch bags, large purses, and similar items. Approved bags include clear, gallon-sized zip storage bags, clear totes (12”x6”x12”) and small purses. Folding chairs and blankets will be allowed, but are subject to search.
The policy is similar to those already in place at university stadiums and local arenas. The policy is not a response to any specific event or concern. We are continually evaluating security measures in our school buildings and taking steps to ensure public safety at our after school events.
Our athletic fields will have signage to announce the new policy. We have posted responses to frequently asked questions on our website. I have copied and pasted below.
How many bags can each person bring into GCS athletic venues?
One large clear bag – either a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or a 12″ by 6″ by 12″ clear bag – plus a small purse-type clutch. The larger clear bag must be a standard 12″ by 6″ by 12″ made of clear PVC vinyl and is easily searched. The one-gallon Ziploc bag is readily available, inexpensive and easily searched. The small clutch allows privacy for small personal items and also is easily searched.
Can fans carry cameras, binoculars, smart phones or tablets separately from what they put in a clear bag?
Yes. Binoculars or a camera can be carried into the stadium as long as they are not in their own bag. This is not a restriction on items that fans have previously been able to bring into the stadium. It is only a restriction on the type of container used to carry items.
Are seat cushions or camp/folding chairs allowed to be carried into the GCS venues?
Yes, but they are subject to search. They should not be in a bag or other container.
What about bringing blankets in cold weather?
Yes, but they will be subject to a search.
What happens if I show up at the venue with a bag that is not permitted?
Fans carrying bags that do not meet the criteria will be turned away from the venue at or near the gates. They will have the opportunity to return the prohibited items to their car.
If I have certain items that I need to bring into the stadium for medical reasons and they won’t fit in the clear bag, what do I do?
An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection.
Are all purses prohibited?
No. Small clutch purses, with or without a handle or strap, are permitted along with either the 12″ by 6″ by 12″ clear tote bag or the one-gallon freezer bag. This should enable you to carry the same items you have in previous years and speed entry into the stadium for all fans because it will take less time to screen bags. Shorter lines means fewer hassles. We encourage fans not to bring any bags, but have created a policy that balances fan needs with improved public safety and convenience.
Do I have to put everything I’m carrying into the permissible bags?
No. We are limiting only the type of bags carried into the stadium, not items that you normally bring to a game. Therefore, you can carry in your pockets or jacket keys, makeup, feminine products, comb, phone, wallet, credit cards, etc., if you choose not to put them in a clear bag or clutch. And you can carry a blanket over your arms, and binoculars and/or camera around your neck or in your hands without the case. You can use the clear bag and clutch to carry other items. You will continue to have the flexibility to bring a wide variety of approved items into the stadium. Every member of your group may carry in a permissible bag.
What will happen if a gun, knife, or other prohibited item is found during a bag search?
As before, law enforcement authorities will be on site and will handle violations of this nature.
What about diaper bags?
Diaper bags are prohibited. Diapers and wipes can be carried in a clear bag. Each person entering the venue, including children, is allowed to bring an approved clear bag and/or a clutch purse into the venue.
Will the media be allowed to bring bags into the venue?
Yes, appropriately credentialed members of the media will be allowed to bring bags into the venues, but may be subject to search.