PLANO, Texas - A football game between high schools in Plano and El Paso set to be played next month has been canceled because of “safety concerns” following the recent mass shooting in El Paso.
The game between Plano Senior High and Ysleta ISD’s Eastwood High, which is located in El Paso, was set for September 6.
This would have been the second straight year the two teams played each other. Last year, the game was played in Plano, and the Wildcats were set to host again for this year’s matchup.
Following the mass shooting in El Paso, Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser spoke with Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre about the game.
In order to “prioritize the safety of the participating players, students, families and communities,” it was determined that this game was happening too soon after the mass shooting.
Because of this, the game was canceled.
A Plano police spokesperson told FOX4 there have been no credible threats.
The 21-year-old suspect accused of opening fire at an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people and wounding others, graduated from Plano Senior High School in 2017. But Plano ISD officials didn't mention if this was the specific safety concern that caused the cancellation.
“We grieve with our neighbors in El Paso and are heartbroken that what is happening in society today is affecting our kids and our communities,” Superintendent Bonser said in a statement. “Our students and coaches were eager for this opportunity to come together with Eastwood High to promote a message of compassion and healing, but what should be a celebratory event would be encumbered by safety concerns for the participants and fans of both teams. Our top priority must be the safety of all.”
There is outrage from local residents over Plano ISD's decision to cancel the game. Now the school district is in the national spotlight, and according to some politicians, it’s not a good light.
People in El Paso say this decision is just adding to their pain.
Football stadiums are often the link between communities that span this large state.
“Football is football here,” Plano community member Bill Schmidt said.
But the game set for Sept. 6 at Kimbrough Stadium in Murphy is now about more than just football.
A school board trustee in El Paso said the decision is extremely disappointing, and that El Paso stands ready to play.
“What happened, we had nothing to do with it, yet we’re ready to comply with our commitment,” Mike Rosales said.
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, of El Paso, tweeted Thursday that “our kids deserve better. They should be allowed to play.”
Community members from Plano felt the game should go on as planned.
“It’s silly. I know that the person that did it is from this area, but it doesn’t mean you stop everything for that person and what happened. You continue life you let kids be kids,” Plano Senior High alum Al Parelli said.
“To ban anything like that because of whatever happened. No it’s like giving up,” Schmidt added.