TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The start of school also means the kickoff of high school football season. This season those Friday night lights are shining on some new safety measures.

Spectators attending Kenmore East High School’s home opener football game had to follow new safety rules at Adams Field.

The most visible change is that everyone entering the game must now go through one of two weapons detection systems.

“We don’t want to make these events feel like we’re walking into a prison,” said Sabatino Cimato, superintendent, Kenmore-Tonawanda Union Free School District.

Patrick Ryan: Do you think people should feel safer having this here?

Sabatino Cimato: I think that people should feel we’re doing everything that we can at this time to make this experience the best for them and the most comfortable for them.

Cimato says the district purchased 20 OpenGate brand weapons detectors.

He said while Friday night’s game was a test run, the district plans on rolling the detectors out for other events like school dances and board meetings.

“This isn’t to send people away or tell them that they can’t come in or enjoy our Kenmore East community tonight,” added Cimato. “It’s to get everyone used to that there will be procedures.”

On top of the detectors, spectators, including students, need to show identification at the gate.

And speaking of students, those who aren’t in high school must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Kim Hughes, who came to watch her grandson play, isn’t completely sold on these new rules.

“I think that we’ve never had a problem,” said Hughes. “So, I don’t really think it’s necessary. But, I guess everybody is doing it these days.”

People will also have to get used to the new bag policy.

Only bags the size of a clutch or fanny pack will be allowed in.

Spectator Michael Bohall is all in on the changes.

“There’s a lot that they can do to detect stuff like that,” said Bohall. “So, the more they can do the better. I feel safer.”

Jeff Rinaldo of Vista Security Group supplies detectors like those in the Ken-Ton Schools.

He said the presence of the detectors is stopping people from even attempting to slip a weapon into these events.

“We are finding that in venues where we do this outside of those gates, we are finding knives and other weapons that people are ditching,” said Rinaldo.

The biggest hang-up from Friday’s game was people trying to get larger bags in than allowed. However, many of them were let through with a warning for the next time.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.