In a reversal, Plano school officials on Friday reinstated a football matchup between Plano Senior High School and El Paso’s Eastwood High School.
The Ford Center, nicknamed The Star, in Frisco will now be the site for the game; it’s the practice field for the Dallas Cowboys. The game will be moved up a night to Thursday, Sept. 5.
Plano Independent School District officials had cited “safety concerns” when they announced Thursday they were canceling the game after it was reported that the 21-year-old El Paso Walmart gunman had attended Plano Senior High.
But on Friday, both Plano and Ysleta Independent School District officials emphasized that there was more security available at The Star.
Joe Parks, the director of safety and security for Plano ISD said, “we’re comfortable with the level of security at that venue.” He said the school district has experience with the Ford Center because they’ve held graduation ceremonies there.
YISD superintdent Xavier De La Torre said “the way security is set up, there is far more than you’d find at a high school stadium,” noting that The Star is an enclosed facility.
Plano superintendent Sara Bonser, in announcing that the game was back on, said “the idea of having a football game in an open arena wasn’t an option,” although she acknowledged there were no specific threats made.
She added that she “wanted opportunities for kids but not at the expense of safety.”
“This was never about anything but safety,” she explained, noting the district had consulted with law enforcement in making the initial cancelation decision. “It was never intended as an insult. Certainly we understood the gravity of all of the emotions that would surface, but safety comes before popular opinion.”
You can watch the news conferences from Eastwood High and from Plano in the video players below.