The high school football season kicks off this week. Teams will take the field at Cramton Bowl Thursday, but fans should expect some changes when they get there.
School officials say there are new screening procedures in place to keep people from bringing weapons into the stadium. That means everyone who goes to the games, including cheerleaders and band members, must pass through metal detectors before they can enter the building.
"The change we're putting in place is due to the passage of the new gun law. We felt that we had to ensure a safe environment. Not only in our school building but also in our athletics events," said Donald Dotson with Montgomery Public Schools.
There will be two checkpoints at each gate. Officials say a private company will handle the screenings, using handheld metal detectors. Police are stepping up patrols, too
"We will have officers on post, should something go awry with one of the screenings or something. We'll have someone there to handle it instantaneously," said Ron Cook, Montgomery Police Department Chief of Operations.
It's costing the school system about $20,000 for the season. School officials say it's worth it.
"I always indicate that we, I tell the superintendent that we'd much rather have her in front of the camera explaining an extra cost for safety and security rather than explaining that something bad happened to a student, so that's the biggest pro we've looked at," said Dotson.
The changes mean it will take longer for football fans to get in to games.
"It won't bother me. It might take a little time, but at least I'll know I'll be in a place that won't get shot up. You know, at least I know they're taking the procedures to stop people from coming in with guns. It's a simple game, but it could turn into a tragedy," said Charles Lee, who lives in Montgomery.
Montgomery officials say that's exactly the kind of thing they want to prevent.
"You have to work some things out and improvise but the overall arcing thing with this is the safety and security so we take that very seriously. That's something we'll be looking at starting tomorrow night," Cook said.
Because it will take a little longer to get screened, school officials are urging everyone to get to the games 30 minutes before kickoff. Gates will open early at Cramton Bowl to make up for the change, at 5:30. That's 30 minutes earlier than last year.