Nineteen school districts in South Carolina have imposed clear-bag policies at their sporting events, following the trend of NFL stadiums and most colleges — including the University of South Carolina and Clemson, per SEC and ACC rules. Beaufort County is considering whether to become the 20th school district to implement such a policy — but not without some debate.
The policy would allow every guest of Beaufort County sporting events to bring one clear bag 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or smaller and a wallet smaller than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches into the event. There would be some exceptions for medical bags, though those bags would be searched, according to The Island Packet in Bluffton, S.C.
District chief operations officer Robert Oetting said some athletic directors requested the policy change because of safety concerns at games. “More and more high schools throughout the state are going to this,” Oetting told The Island Packet. “It is becoming more and more common.”
However, board member William Smith, whose district includes St. Helena and Lady’s Island, raised questions about the challenges a clear-bag policy might present for some students and parents. “They don’t have to have clear book bags in school,” Smith said. “So if we do clear book bags for these facilities, then we need to do clear book bags for all facilities at all times. It’s very controversial, because I don’t know what little Johnny or what little Bonnie’s parents can afford.”
The clear-bag policy is an administrative regulation, meaning that district superintendent Frank Rodriguez can implement the policy without board approval, as long as the board is notified.
The policy change was first discussed last week, and likely won't be revisited until the district's next committee meeting, when district security officer David Grissom can give them a more detailed breakdown of the policy. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14.