Atlanta school shooting reveals gaps in security

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:

A tearful parent reunites with her child after a shooting at Atlanta's Price Middle School on Thursday.
ATLANTA —

Atlanta Public Schools leaders are scrambling to review the district's security procedures following last Thursday's shooting outside Price Middle School.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant was inside district headquarters Monday afternoon where the superintendent, board members and the district's security chief all admitted Thursday's shooting exposed some major gaps in school security, a still unknown number of broken metal detectors and the ability to walk on campus carrying a weapon.

"The obvious question is how did this get past the metal detectors," superintendent Erroll Davis said last week, expressing one of the most immediate concerns about the incident.

By late Friday night, Atlanta Public Schools leaders confirmed the school's metal detectors were not working at the time of the shooting and that use of the detectors during the school year had been limited.

"We hate to have middle-school students go through metal detectors, but that really is our current reality in this community," APS Board Chairman Rueben McDaniel said.

McDaniel told Diamant Monday, he's worried the district may not have set policies for how or how often metal detectors are used in its schools.

"But if you want to use metal detectors they need to be working, and we need to have a consistent policy if we're going to use them on a consistent basis," McDaniel said.

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At a late Monday afternoon committee meeting, APS board members grilled the district's security chief over the incident.

"I can tell you a lot of people are on edge right about now. This is a rare instance, but that's all it takes," board member Brenda Muhammad said during the meeting.

Safety Director Marquette Sands told members the district's metal detectors are inspected once every year and problems found in between should be reported by principals at once.

"When it comes to security systems, it's the priority," Sands said.

The district is now re-inspecting inspecting every metal detector in the system while Sands said she will push for more resources to beef up security inside and outside schools.

At the meeting there was also a lot of discussion about how to get accurate information out to parents faster in the middle of a crisis.

Diamant asked APS for the list of broken metal detectors as soon as those inspections wrap up.