A Dallas-area district where the El Paso shooting suspect graduated from high school announced Friday that it has reinstated a September football game with an El Paso school that the district had cancelled for fear that extremists would use it as a platform to get attention.
The game between Eastwood High School of El Paso and Plano Senior High School has been rescheduled for Sept. 5 at the Dallas Cowboys Star Center, the NFL team's indoor practice facility that the neighboring Frisco Independent School District uses for high school football games, said Sara Bonser, superintendent of the Plano Independent School District.
The Plano school was attended by Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old man police say has confessed to the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that killed 22 people.
The game had previously been scheduled for Sept. 6 at Kimbrough Stadium, the Plano ISD's football venue. Bonser announced Thursday, however, that the game was being cancelled, citing concerns for the safety of players, students, parents and fans. The decision drew some criticism from officials of the Ysleta Independent School District, where Eastwood High is situated.
At a Friday news conference, Bonser would not express regret for that decision.
"This was never about anything but safety," she said. When pressed repeatedly Friday, neither she nor other school officials cited any specific safety concerns. However, she said she reversed her decision after the Frisco ISD and Dallas Cowboys offered the use of their stadium, "knowing that this facility provides the level of security that we feel this unique situation warrants."
Some Ysleta ISD officials had said the cancellation had added to the hurt and trauma caused by the mass shooting, which occurred about three miles from the Eastwood campus.
"People will interpret that many different ways, but it was never intended as an insult, as any way to make kids and adults feel bad," Bonser said.