Parents leary about start of school on Monday

11:50 PM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
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DECATUR, Ga. -- No parent wants to think a deadly weapon could end up at their child's school.  But Dekalb County police are looking for a man who brought a 9mm handgun into Tower High School during an open house Wednesday night.

According to the police report, the principal noticed the man acting odd, and asked him to leave.

"The man had a gun in a skull cap. There was an apparent struggle between the two over the skull cap, the suspect fled and the teacher (principal) was able to recover the weapon," said district spokesperson Jeff Dickerson.

The district wouldn't let us see the surveillance video, but says it has several vague images of the suspect walking around campus. With the man's motives, or even identity unknown, we asked if the district would have extra security on Monday.

"There won't be additional resource officers but they're going to do their jobs and they're going to have the eyes and ears of every teacher, every administrator, every principal and hopefully every parent," said Dickerson.

But parents told 11Alive it's hard to help if they don't know the problem. Because the school year has yet to start, the district didn't send out an alert.

"I think it still should have been announced to the parents to let them know, to not keep us in the blind about anything," said Shanteva Culpepper, who visited Tower High on Friday to finish registering her son.

Some parents brought up the idea of metal detectors, wondering if the time had come for the district to use them in all the schools.

"We've got to do what's best for these students. We're all on different levels in life so you never know what this child went through at home or possessing him to bring a weapon to school," said parents Melissa Moore.

Dickerson questioned what kind of message that would send about the students, school or even community. Parents 11Alive talked with say they have a hard time thinking of a bad message that could come from it. They think the metal detectors would signal a tough stand on violence, drugs and any other inappropriate behavior.

"You have to walk through them. If something you have isn't supposed to be on you, it's going to go off," said Shosetta Carson, whose son is an incoming junior at Tower High.

The district stresses to parents the man with gun is not believed to be a student. Still some parents say it's a safety measure the district should consider.

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