School sign asks parents not to walk kids to class

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Bethune Elementary School parents argue that they should be welcome at their children's school.
ATLANTA —

A group of Atlanta parents are upset, saying they are not welcome in their children's elementary school. 

A district policy requires parents to give 24 hours notice to visit classrooms, but some schools have a more strict interpretation than others. A sign at Bethune Elementary School asking parents not to walk their children to class to prevent distractions is sparking outrage.

"Right now, all the parents I have with me today are upset and don't feel welcome,” Bethune Elementary School council chair Rodney Daniel said.

Daniel and his wife have three children at Bethune, which is in northwest Atlanta’s Vine City. The school is one of several Atlanta Public Schools named in a major test cheating scandal. Daniel said parents should be involved to help the school turn over a new leaf.

"We don't want to go back to old ways of APS. We want it to be parents, community," he told Channel 2’s John Bachman.

A school district spokesman said that's what new district leaders want too, but not without boundaries.
"We want our parents deeply involved in our schools. We welcome that, but we can't have parents interrupting instructional time, and most of our parents don't do that," Stephen Alford said.

Alford explained that the 24-hour notice rule, which is common among area districts, is in place to protect students.

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"We understand why the rule is in place.  However, as long as parents go through the process, signing in, walking their kids to class in the morning, that should be welcome. You should welcome to see parents in the building no matter what," Daniel said.

Parents, district leaders and school staff met Monday in part to develop a volunteer program at Bethune. Officials also said changes would be made at the school but wouldn’t specify further.