PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) — One day after Plano ISD canceled a football game between Plano Senior High and Eastwood High in El Paso, Superintendent Sara Bonser announced the game is now back on — but will now be played one day earlier at The Star in Frisco.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, it was said that administrators felt obligated to prioritize the safety of all attendees and the timing of the game, originally scheduled for Sept. 6, fell on a date “too soon” after the mass shooting — committed by a former student — that left 22 dead.
The suspect in the mass shooting graduated from Plano Senior High in 2017.
Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser opened a dialogue with Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre regarding the second annual out-of-district matchup between Plano Senior High and Eastwood High, scheduled for September 6. After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, Plano ISD administrators felt obligated to prioritize the safety of the participating players, students, families and communities, and have concluded that the timing of the game falls too soon after the tragedy in El Paso.
However, on Friday, Ysleta ISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said he has great respect for Plano ISD leaders but that his community was disappointed and disillusioned by the decision to cancel.
De La Torre said they would field offers from other schools — including one in Garland ISD — to play on Sept. 6 if Plano ISD stuck with the original decision.
In a news conference held by Plano ISD, Bonser said that she ultimately put the safety and community first and “cannot and will not” regret that decision.
Despite that decision, she said Frisco ISD Superintendent Mike Waldrip reached out and offered the use of the Dallas Cowboy Star Center as a host site for the game.
“Mike changed the football schedule to accommodate the two districts, knowing that the facility provides the level of security that this unique situation warrants,” Bonser said. “This game can now occur with all the focus for our students and the excitement of Texas football in a safe environment.”
Ysleta ISD has since responded with a news release stating their thanks for the new arrangement.
I want to thank the Frisco ISD for their role in facilitating this new arrangement. And, I especially want to thank the Jones Family and the Dallas Cowboys for their generosity in allowing our two teams to play at the Ford Center at The Star on Thursday, September 5, 2019. This will allow people from many different communities to come together to support our student athletes… I am pleased beyond words that peace and unity will guide this event and fear will be left behind… We are El Paso Strong and we are Texas Strong.
The game between the two schools is now scheduled for Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
“Today, three school districts came together to find a solution for students that keeps them safe and allows them the opportunity to send a positive message about sportsmanship,” Bonser said.
WATCH: Plano ISD News Conference On Football Game