UPDATE (2/23/23) — Peoria Police have confirmed a larger police presence and enhanced security will be at Friday’s games.
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– There is heightened security and a police presence at Peoria High School for Wednesday night high school playoff basketball games, and WMBD/WYZZ cameras were not permitted to cover the security protocols.
The district prohibited news reporters or cameras inside the arena for the IHSA Regional Boys Basketball tournament.
Our reporter Darronte Matthews was stopped at the door by a school resource officer after being told the school district would not clear our reporter/photographer team into the game.
Asking the district “why” has not been fruitful. Questions about the decision and who made it to Peoria School District public information officer Haleemah Naalah, were met with multiple responses including the district leadership, one school principal, and athletic directors from the schools involved in Wednesday night’s games.
Questions asking for the district’s reasoning behind the decision to prohibit media access – for news purposes – have not received a response as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, well after the second of Wednesday’s game was underway.
The last-minute changes involving security for Wednesday’s game were first brought to light by the school district late Tuesday afternoon. Those changes include included limited tickets and higher security.
Their effectiveness may be questionable regarding tickets: WMBD reporter Breanna Rittman saw and met one spectator to the game who walked straight up to the ticket window – without any pass supposedly required by others and the restrictions put in place for these games – and purchased a ticket on the spot. When asked about the additional security measures, he responded, “It’s a sign of the times.”