Friday night’s lights illuminate new safety measures for Ken-Ton schools

CITY OF TONAWANDA, NY (WIVB) – Back to school means the start of high school football season. This season, the Friday evening lights are shining due to some new safety measures.

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

The most visible change is that everyone entering the game will now have to go through one of two weapon detection systems.

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

Patrick Ryan: Do you think people should feel safer here if that’s the case?

Sabatino Cimato: I think people should feel that during this time we are doing everything we can to make this experience as comfortable as possible for them.

According to Cimato, the district has purchased 20 OpenGate brand gun detectors.

He said while Friday night’s game is a test run, the county plans to use the detectors for other events, such as school dances and board meetings.

“This isn’t about turning people away or telling them they can’t come over tonight and enjoy our Kenmore East community,” Cimato added. “There will be procedures to get everyone used to it.”

In addition to the detectors, spectators, including students, must show ID at the gate.

Speaking of students, those not attending secondary school must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Kim Hughes, who watched her grandson play, isn’t entirely convinced by these new rules.

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

You will also have to get used to the new pocket rules.

Only bags the size of a clutch or belt bag are allowed.

Spectator Michael Bohall is full of the changes.

“There’s a lot you can do to spot things like this,” Bohall said. “So the more they can do, the better. I feel safer.”

Vista Security Group’s Jeff Rinaldo supplies detectors like those in the Ken Ton schools.

He said the presence of the detectors discourages people from even trying to put a gun in these events.

“We find that in places where we do this outside of these gates, we find knives and other weapons that people throw away,” Rinaldo said.

The biggest obstacle to Friday’s game was people trying to get in bigger pockets than allowed. However, many of them were let through with a warning for 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.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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