MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – District officials in Manatee County are aiming to make athletic events safer countywide.

The district recently announced enhanced safety and security measures as the new school year gets underway.

Fans attending sporting events in Manatee County can expect to be screened before entry, either with a metal detector wand or through the use of a weapons detection system. A clear bag policy will also be in effect.

The policy requires large clear bag be no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”. School officials say a gallon-sized Ziploc bag meets the requirements. A small clutch handbag can be used to carry personal items and will be subject to search by security officials or law enforcement. The clutch must be no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”. Each individual attending a game, including children, may bring in one clear bag.

“We have an entire department that is devoted to safety and security, so they are always looking at ways to enhance the security in our schools. We feel like we are doing a real good job in terms of making our schools more secure and more safe. We have done things like single point of entry, additional fencing, we are always looking at ways to make our schools more safe. This is an example of some thing that we are doing to make our extracurricular activities additionally safe as well,” said Michael Barber, with the School District of Manatee County.

The heightened safety measures come less than three months after a shooting took place at a spring football game at Palmetto High School.

Police at the time said at least two weapons made it on to school property that evening. A teen from Bradenton was arrested in that case. No one was hurt during the incident, but the gunshot sent fans and players running in a panic.

“That was a scary incident, but I can tell you that that is not the sole reason why we are doing what we are doing. Again, just in the day and age in which we live, we are always looking at ways to enhance security at our schools and at school-related events,” said Barber.

The district spent around $60,000 to enhance security measures at district athletic events, according to Barber. That price tag includes paying additional School Guardians to work security at athletic events, as well as the cost to lease weapon detection systems which will be used at the games.