California school district forces fans to show ID for entry to football games

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Want to see a high school football game in Hemet California? Better bring a driver's license or a passport.

As reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the Hemet Unified School District has passed a new regulation that requires all who show up at games to present formal identification before they are allowed to enter. District officials say that the policy was instituted as a means to bring more accountability to fans and keep out some who attend games just to raise a ruckus.

"There are going to be certain individuals who are going to be deterred," Hemet director of safety, benefits and risk management Lucy Dressel told the Press-Enterprise. "Individuals who are up to no good normally don’t want to show ID."

The new safety policies also call for a ban on stadium re-entry, so anyone who leaves a game at Hemet High, Tahquitz High or West Valley High will not be allowed back in, ID or not. All bags are also being checked at stadium entrances, just as they are in professional sports.

District officials said that there wasn't any particular incident that served as a catalyst for the new safety policy. Rather, the stadium policy is modeled off state requirements which force any visitors to public schools to have their IDs scanned by a program called LobbyGuard, which crosschecks visitors against the National Sex Offender database.

That differentiates Hemet from the one other district that also began requiring IDs for entry this year; Thurston High in Redford, Mi., also instituted an ID check at the gates following a shooting near the school's stadium after a game.

While the new ID checks and ban on re-entry clearly aren't the most convenient policies, the early reaction among Hemet stadium-goers appears to be positive, as a recent collection of fans told the P-E.

"They can ask for my ID, they can ask my age, they can ask what I had for dinner. There’s no problem whatsoever," said Bill Woodie, who has been attending Hemet High football games since the 1950s.

"I don't mind [showing my ID] if it makes it safer," Brad Stockton said.

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