New Security Policies for All Events in NC

We were asked to share this so I am sharing it:

The FIRST North Carolina Board of Directors has requested that we implement stronger security protocols in light of the many school and public-event shootings over the past two years. Our top priority is the safety of our students, mentors and spectators. Please share the following information with ALL of your team members and their families. This information can also be found on our website here.

  1. All student team members will be required to wear a badge in an easily visible location at all times during the event.

  2. All team mentors will be required to wear a badge in an easily visible location at all times during the event.

  3. Parents, guests, and spectators will be required to wear a wristband while at the event. Wristbands will be available upon entry at the front table at each event. A different color will be used each day.

  4. Bag Checks

ALL bags will be checked for weapons upon entry on SATURDAY and SUNDAY.

  1. Saturday and Sunday Doors Open

EVERYONE must enter through the main entrance. This includes all team members, mentors, volunteers, parents and the general public. There will be three lines to help expedite the initial opening of the doors.

  • Line A - Badges only - If you have a badge and no backpack or bags, you will be in the express line where a simple badge check happens. No badge, no entry through this line. (Batteries do not count as a bag if they are carried by hand.)
  • Line B - Badges and Clear Bags - If you have a badge and a clear bag, you will be in the second express line where a quick visual inspection of your clear bag will be done.
  • Line C - Everyone else - If you have a bag of any kind, it will be subject to search upon entry. Anyone without a badge will be directed to the check-in table to either receive a badge or a wristband.
  1. Re-entry - All bags are subject to search upon re-entry both days.

  2. Friday Load-In

  • To make team loading in easier, no badges or bag checks will take place. Badges may be picked up by the team coach when checking in at Pit Admin. Please note that your pit area is always subject to search during the event by our Safety Advisors.

  • The doors used for Friday Load-In are for FRIDAY ONLY. NO entry is permitted through those doors on Saturday or Sunday.

We have branded clear bags available for purchase. Bags may be pre-ordered here.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you for your help in making our events as safe and secure as possible.


Huh. I can’t say that would make me feel any safer.


Honest question: has there ever actually been a violent intruder at a FIRST Robotics event? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of one.

Not to my knowledge, there have been incidents outside of venues (CMP 07 I believe had a shooting in the CNN tower during the event and MAR CMP 2012 had an incident outside the event resulting in a quiet “keep everyone in the building”).

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I’ve never heard of one. But at the same time, this is the unfortunate reality many schools are dealing with across the nation. They had already implemented this at Champs, with mandatory badges and bag checks, it was only a matter of time before it would start to trickle down to other events, especially those district events held in high schools that may be starting to implement their own enhanced security procedures.


Being in the NC district, it will be difficult to have to have the time slowdown of getting checked every time you want to get in and out, but I can understand the concern, especially as First pulls a lot of people in one place, and how in the mornings and in load in, everyone rushes in at once to try and get the most time to work on their robot, which makes it super easy for someone with Mal intentions to sneak themselves in, so I can understand the move.

Morbid curiosity: how many is “many”?

I always wonder how long until someone takes advantage of these policies to aim for the large crowd of stationary people in line to get into someplace, it seems like it’ll only be a matter of time and it’ll be a tragedy in every sense of the word.

Also I wonder how much of not screening load-in was because it was actual not being concerned, and how much was having to train whoever they’re hiring (or is the screening being done by event volunteers?) to differentiate pneumatic systems from pipe bombs, and that it would add 6 hours to load in pointlessly.


Last year at St. Louis they checked every bag and everyone had to go though metal detectors. Before opening additional entrances on Friday and Saturday, there were individuals waiting outside 45 minutes after pits opening on Thursday. Having plenty of staff to check everyone is critical…

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Finger Lakes has been doing this for a few years now. The metal detectors are mandatory to go through and they are right at the entrance. So typically teams will be forced to wait outside for 20-45 minutes, in lovely Rochester weather (very windy, very snowy, and very cold).

It’s easily my favorite part of the event.


In our school district we have had 4 lockdowns because of shooting threats (2 where a gun was found) and a shooting that ended in a high school student being shot and killed. So unfortunately, I do understand their concern.

“Hey volunteer, one of the guests is concerned that one of the pits has an IED, firearm, or bioweapon, why don’t you check it out?”

A lot of this only looks safe if there was never a problem to begin with, which is a terrible system.


This is not much different than the previous years required venue checks for hidden food and beverages in NC. Given the size of our events, I don’t see this being an issue at all and it is better to know now than be surprised. Come prepared!

You really don’t want to know.. Many of them are relatively small and don’t make national news.


1 is too many in my opinion


172 school shootings in the last 9 years by my count. 10 in North Carolina, resulting in 4 deaths total. A tragedy each one to be sure, but averaging less than half a death per year would not make me particularly concerned about my safety or the safety of the people around me.

Admittedly I only have perspective on one of those 172, the one I was personally at and traumatized by on June 5th, 2014. But the one fatality was outside the building, no amount of screening and security would have prevented that death.
I’m all for trying to make sure we have a safe environment to gather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a critical look at the policies and procedures implemented and see if it’s security or security theater. And I see a lot of security theater which does nothing more than waste people’s time.


I wonder if they will have volunteers doing this, or hire professional security like they do at worlds, if so that will get very expensive very quickly


One year at Pittsburgh we were on lockdown because of a shooting in the hospital next door.

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Curious what kind of venues you have in NC that don’t already do Bag checks? I mean honestly most venues just do it to prevent sneaking in food, but still. It is always interesting to see safety check protocols because no matter how intense they are they just don’t work. If people want to harm people they are going to harm people focusing on one medium to harm isn’t going to stop them. Also as Deming said you can’t inspect in quality.

I’m glad we’re all on the same page that people being injured and killed is a bad thing.

I agree with Timebomb that it’s important to critically analyze our security measures, although I disagree that it’s too small a number to matter (after all, there’s no way to prevent this).

I couldn’t find any numbers or articles about the effectiveness of bag checks at sporting events. (If you can find any, please share.) However, there are many sources about how ineffective the TSA is at performing similar tasks.

Does searching bags keep us safe? Probably not. Is it better than nothing? Maybe it will dissuade an attacker. As always, security measures are a battle between convenience and effectiveness. We could all stay home, after all.

And don’t talk about how we’ve never had a security incident- as soon as something bad happens, it’s already too late.


Ya’ll have got no idea. NC started to massively crack down on security last year. You cannot, in theory, enter most of the schools without first showing a license to a camera at the locked front entrance. Nevermind the fact that the camera can barely see anything. All doors are locked down during the school day anymore. Resource officers (eg local police) are being stationed on site.

But the reality is that this is mostly just security theater. It gives a sense of security but it’s still not going to stop bad things from happening.