Granite City Principal Daren DePew
(5-10-17) Granite City’s (Illinois) school board voted unanimously in a Tuesday evening meeting to begin procedures to leave the Southwestern Conference following the 2017-18 school year.
The move all happened because Granite City wanted their fans and student-athletes to be safe at SWC athletic events and the six other members didn’t want to go that extra step to make it a safer environment in the future.
The reason for leaving the SWC–
WHERE – February 21st boys basketball game played at SWC member East St. Louis.
WHY – Late in the first half East St. Louis officials found a student in possession of a gun. No shots were fired. Granite City players and cheerleaders were escorted by police to the school bus. The game was not rescheduled, and both teams took a forfeit loss.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT – Granite City Superintendent Jim Greenwald wrote East St. Louis school officials.
Greenwald told advantagenews.com:
“It was a very serious situation which the game was suspended. There was a weapon that was in the upper stands. Fortunately, nobody was hurt or shots were fired. But not only our team, but our fans and our parents and our cheerleaders were put in a very dangerous situation. Per recommendation of the board which I fulfilled immediately, I sent a letter to Superintendent (Arthur) Culver of East St. Louis. I received a message back from him several weeks later and he basically said East St. Louis High School’s concern for safety mirrored ours. ”
The next action taken by Greenwald was another letter to Culver and all of the superintendents of the other SWC schools (Belleville West,Belleville East, Edwardsville, O’Fallon, Collinsville and Alton) and asked them to meet with their respective principals and athletics directors to consider the possibility of purchasing metal detectors or wands to be used at entrances to gymnasiums and stadiums at SWC events. Granite City has used two metal detectors at large SWC sporting events in the past hosted by the school. According to Granite City school officials each metal detector cost about $2,000 ($4,000 total for both detectors), plus adding auxiliary police on site with wands.
In a thetelegraph.com story a source close to the situation, who asked not to be identified:
“Two of the larger schools in the conference came out dead-set against all
the member schools installing metal detectors, citing a negative effect on the
RESULTS FROM THE LETTER – No direct feedback came from any of the the conference superintendents and that led to the Granite City board voting to withdraw from the SWC. Granite City will be in the SWC next season (2017-18), after next year they plan on competing as an independent.
Greenwald told bnd.com:
‘Hey, nobody is interested in doing this,’ that’s when we saw we were going to have to proceed (with leaving the SWC).
The Warriors were a member of the SWC from its founding as the Southwest Conference in 1923, Granite City played in the conference until 1975 when the school split into two high schools – North and South. The Warriors would rejoin in 1985 when the the two schools were consolidated.