ATLANTA, Ga. -- Late Friday night Atlanta Public Schools issued a statement confirming what many parents and students had already told 11Alive News Thursday, that the metal detectors at Price Middle School were not in use.
In fact, according to APS, they were not 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 at the school.
"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, who's a 7th 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."
Like many parents, Crystal Gray thought long and hard about letting her daughter Brianna go back to Price today. She was there yesterday among the hundreds waiting for their kids to be let out from the school once it was clear the danger had passed.
Security has long been a concern for her. One that she says she raised to school officials before.
"I've seen two metal detectors at Price Middle School," she said. "And seeing those metal detectors, you also see the outlets. You also see the plugs on the floor; they're not plugged in."
Gray says now's the time for parents to demand a seat at the table with school officials; a chance to be heard and actually listened to. Like they should have been listened to Thursday when they insisted those metal detectors were not working.