Late Friday night Atlanta Public Schools issued a statement confirming what many parents and students had already reported to news stations, that the metal detectors at Price Middle School were not in use.
On Thursday a student shot a 14-year-old classmate in the back of the neck with a handgun, apparently after a dispute, sending a wave of fear and panic through parents and the school community. The victim was not seriously harmed and was released from a hospital.
APS said metal detectors at the middle school had not been in use for most of the school year.
Why it took more than a day to determine that was part of a contentious news conference earlier in the day. School officials were asked if it was acceptable that, more than 24 hours after the shooting, they still didn’t know if the metal detectors had been working.
“Is it acceptable?” asked APS Superintendent Erroll Davis.
“It’s reality. We had people check on them this morning. I was there. They were working on them. I have no report on what they worked on or what they found. I have not avoided a report. But they were working on it.”
Perhaps the officials should have asked the kids the same questions we did: Would you typically have to go through a metal detector?
“No,” said Brianna Reed, a seventh-grader at Price. “Not until today.”
When asked if the students were wanded by handheld metal detectors, her answer was the same.
“No. Not at all.”
And if that’s indeed the case, that would be a violation of the system’s protocols.
“They can use either walk through or handheld wands,” said Maquenta Sands, APS Director of Security. “They should do one or the other.”
Read more: 11Alive