ATLANTA -- Some Atlanta Public School parents are calling for tougher security aboard district buses. They spoke out three days after a Sutton Middle School student brought a BB gun aboard a bus and shot two students.
"That hit too close to home," said LaToya McIntosh. "My daughter was on that bus."
McIntosh and Tiffani Craft put their daughters on the bus to Sutton Middle School five days a week. Their girls say it's nothing new for their classmates to bring dangerous or banned items aboard the bus.
"It's very easy," said Craft's eighth-grade daughter, D'Auria . "They even hide stuff on the bus, sometimes there's rips in seats that they can hide stuff in, and when they get back on the bus, it'll be there."
Craft and McIntosh say they are scared to put their daughters back on the bus. They believe the bus a gray zone: an area they feel is ignored when officials consider school safety.
"I think maybe they should implement some sort of bus monitor," Craft said. "They can't put all the responsibility on the bus driver."
"They have metal detectors in the schools to make sure the students are safe," McIntosh added. "And since the school bus would be an extension of the schools, I feel they should probably do the same thing."
Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Steve Alford said the district is constantly considering new safety measures on buses and in schools. While bus monitors and metal detector wands have all come under consideration, Alford said it's also a question of practicality.
"If we have someone on the bus patting down students, how much time does that add to the school day and to the bus ride?" Alford said. "Does that mean that every parent will have to put their child out at the bus stop 30 minutes earlier than they are now?
Craft and McIntosh say absolutely, if that's what it will take to keep their kids safe.
"What's 30 extra minutes as opposed to attending your child's premature funeral?" Craft said.
Both parents and district officials agree that APS must address the root cause behind these problems: why are children bringing weapons to school in the first place?
The eighth grade student who brought the BB gun has been suspended from school. According to Atlanta Police, he will be charged with aggravated assault.