GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KSDK) - A metro east high school has pulled out of its athletic conference after an incident with a gun at an East St. Louis game.
Granite City school officials admit they are getting smaller and athletic participation is dropping, but they say the decision to leave the Southwestern Conference is not about competitiveness.
Instead, school leaders are worried about the safety of their students when visiting other schools.
In February, there was an incident involving a student with a gun at a basketball game between Granite City and East St. Louis. After that, Granite City says it contacted all of the schools in the conference - Belleville East, Belleville West, Edwardsville, Collinsville, O'Fallon, and Alton - requesting a re-write of conference rules to require metal detectors at all athletic events but none of the other schools agreed.
"I respect their decisions, those other schools," says Granite City High School's Athletic Director John Moad. "We had a different philosophy on that and it is what it is."
Moad insists leaving the Southwestern Conference is not a criticism of East St. Louis.
"The incident we were involved in happened at East St. Louis. It could have happened anywhere," says Moad.
He says the goal of Granite City schools is to "make sure this doesn’t happen again."
East St. Louis High says it is in the process of purchasing metal detectors for athletic events.
Five On Your Side has reached out to the other schools but so far no response.
The Belleville superintendent tells the Belleville News-Democrat that he doesn't see how metal detectors would be effective at football games when the rest of the field is surrounded by a chain link fence.
As for what this means for Granite City schools' athletics, Moad says the withdrawal will take effect after the next school year and he is working to schedule new schools for competition with the goal of eventually joining another conference.