Arlington Public Schools limits attendance at athletic events

A northern Virginia school district is paring back the number of people who can attend sporting events.

Arlington County recently notified parents of some changes that will make it hard for students to attend games of schools they don’t attend.              

Earlier this year, Arlington County police communicated staffing challenges with the community.

Right now, they are approved for 376 officers, but they are currently about 100 full-duty officers short.    

"It is imperative and necessary that we continue to make service adjustments to prioritize our workload in alignment with our key initiatives," Chief Andy Penn said in a taped message last year.

In 2021, Arlington police notified Arlington Public Schools they wouldn’t be able to have officers at games and special events.

The school system told FOX 5 that the lack of police officers is not directly correlated to the changes in who can attend games. Arlington Public Schools said that they’ve implemented similar changes before.

However, these are changes that have parents frustrated.  

Only students at either school can attend the game without a guardian, and if you go to another school or are not in high school, you have to have an adult chaperone.            

READ MORE: Security changes at Montgomery County high school games announced after massive brawl

"The decision to revise our admission procedures for high school athletic events is based on our commitment to providing safe, secure environments for students, staff and spectators, as well as to support the school staff who are charged with managing the crowds and maintaining safety and security during these events," Alrington Public Schools said in a statement.

Kevin Hughes is a parent of two football players who thinks more can be done to keep games safe. 

"Resources can be found to hire additional staff if required," Hughes said, "High school sporting competitions are events that strengthen our community. And should be open to the public."

Arlington Public Schools did say they have school security at games. The police department reiterated that the relationship between the school and police department on all things school safety continues.

Last week, Montgomery County Public Schools announced a similar move as part of a wider set of safety measures to keep order at games after an on-field fight between Gaithersburg and Northwest High Schools.