Plano ISD listed safety concerns following a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart as its reason for canceling a football game between one of its high schools and a team from the West Texas city.
Plano ISD announced on Aug. 15 in a news release that they are canceling the Plano Senior High School out-of-district football game against Eastwood High School, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 6.
“Our students and coaches were eager for this opportunity to come together with Eastwood High to promote a message of compassion and healing,” the release said, “but what should be a celebratory event would be encumbered by safety concerns for the participants and fans of both teams. Our top priority must be the safety of all.”
Plano Chief of Police Gregory Rushin and Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser discussed the issue before the district made the decision to cancel the game, Plano Police Department spokesperson David Tilley said.
“We talked about this, she shared her concerns as well as the concerns of the superintendent from El Paso, and Chief [Rushin] did agree with their decision to cancel the game,” Tilley said.
The police department was not aware of any specific threats, Tilley said. Part of this concern stems from playing at a stadium that is outside of the city, at Kimbrough Stadium in Murphy. Kimbrough Stadium is roughly 7 miles from downtown Plano.
“We’ve not had any threats,” Tilley said. “And potentially we don’t expect anything to happen, but we always err on the side of caution for safety purposes.”
This would have been the second year for the El Paso team to play against Plano ISD.
“Last year we had such a great experience hosting Eastwood High, and we were looking forward to continuing this new tradition,” said Sarah Watkins, Plano Senior High School Principal, in a statement released by Plano ISD.
Prior to the game being canceled, Plano police had offered to assist the Murphy Police Department with additional security, according to Tilley.
This decision comes 12 days after the mass shooting in El Paso, which resulted in 22 deaths, according to El Paso police.