Davis holds press conference on campus after shooting

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APS superintendent Erroll Davis holds an afternoon press conference alongside principal Vincent Murray in the wake of this morning’s incident in which a student shot herself in the thigh on campus. Davis described to the details surrounding he incident. Photo by J.D. Capelouto

Ryan Bolton

APS superintendent Erroll Davis holds an afternoon press conference alongside principal Vincent Murray in the wake of this morning’s incident in which a student shot herself in the thigh on campus. Davis described in this conference to the details surrounding he incident and then moved into the media center to answer further concerns. Photo by J.D. Capelouto.

A press conference regarding the shooting at Grady was held in the media center of the school this afternoon. Superintendent Erroll Davis addressed a number of concerned parents about the issue, many of them questioning how such an event could occur after the Price Middle School shooting less than a month ago.

“We have a zero tolerance policy throughout the district for weapons on campus, and we need to determine the causes of incidents such as the one that occurred today,” Davis said.

Grady already has metal detectors in place at the entrance to the cafeteria, but Davis said the student who injured herself “did not follow protocol to check in.”

“We are the only school district in the metro area that has metal detectors,” Davis said.

As Davis spoke, one parent interjected, demanding answers from Davis and Grady administrators.

“I want facts,” she said. “I have the right to speak my opinion, and I want answers.”

Davis discussed several possible ways to eliminate the opportunity to bring weapons to schools for the future, including a proposal to hire 75 full-time APS officers in addition to the school resource officers.

“Not all of our officers are APD officers, as they can only work 20 hours a week,” Davis said. “It’s a part-time job. Some of our officers are simply resource officers, and others come from Homeland Security to make sure officers are present on-site at all times.”

Marquenta Sands, Security Chief of Atlanta Public Schools, attended the press conference and addressed the concerns coming from the issue of guns being brought onto school property.

“We take security to heart, and protocols are meant to ensure that [security measures] are thorough and provide the support that we need,” Sands said. “Its not always a matter of procedure, but also effectiveness. We need to review our practices and plans to see what we can improve on in the future and look at what we currently have in place to make enhancements to our current protocols and policies.”

Several changes will occur in the community over the next few days, Sands said.

“First of all, we have to debrief and take a look at the good and the bad with law enforcement officials and even students to shed light on how we can make our schools better,” she said. “There will never be enough police or enough physical bodies to put in every inch of space. We must make changes that students, parents, staff, administrators and the community must embrace to ensure the safety of everyone.”