Philadelphia football games look different as shootings, threats create security issues for schools

With the violence and safety concerns in Philadelphia, football games look and feel different, especially for the schools impacted by the Roxborough High School shooting.

Friday night football, before the sun goes down, as the Boys’ Latin versus Martin Luther King 7 p.m. kickoff was moved up to 3 p.m. because of security concerns.

"This week has been extremely challenging for our young people, their families, teachers and leaders," CEO of Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia, Dr. William Hayes, said.


Dr. Hayes says it was important for the fame to go on, to let students be students playing a sport they love. They’re rallying and moving forward after a shooting outside of Roxborough High School Tuesday afternoon that killed 14-year-old Saul High School student Nicolas Elizalde and injured four other teens. All but one were leaving a football scrimmage. Some members of the Boys’ Latin football program were also at that scrimmage.

"I look at the events and I can easily say ‘That could’ve been my son,’" said Simeon Hill, a Boys’ Latin dad.

Earlier Friday, the Philadelphia Public League tweeted, "Philadelphia we need to do better," with a letter from Bartram High School announcing that football is canceled until further notice due to a threat.

"It makes me nervous as a parent. We can’t even go to a game to watch our children play or enjoy something that’s not in the streets without something street being brought to the game," MLK High parent Alana Bell-Benjamin said.

Boys’ Latin mom Erika Shearlds-Hill stated, "It’s not all on the city, it’s not all on the schools. It’s the neighborhoods, government, everyone working together."

George Washington High School is stepping up, turning sadness into action. The football team and cheerleading squad are selling blue ribbons and bracelets to benefit Saul and Roxborough High Schools in light of the tragedy. All 500 ribbons sold out Friday. They’re ordering 500 more.

"To the families and students, I cannot imagine your pain. Please know that we stand with you and want to do anything and everything to support you in your time of need," George Washington High School principal Susan Thompson said.