AUBURN GRESHAM — Parent Chico Butt paused and choked up Friday morning as he recalled the chaos outside Scott Joplin Elementary earlier in the week after two bullets shattered the windows of a crowded first-grade classroom.
"It's just scary," said Butt, who was greeted by a fleet of police cars Monday while on his way to pick up his four young children. "You never know until you get to the school. You never know what's going on."
Police said the bullets were stray shots from a dispute outside the school between two teens. One of the teens involved in the dispute was arrested along with a friend and charged Wednesday in connection with the incident.
On Friday, parents outside Joplin, in the 7900 block of South Honore Street in Auburn Gresham, said they were shaken by the shooting and frustrated by the fact the school wasn't more forthcoming about what happened. One even said she would take her children out of the school next year.
"I don't like the situation," said parent Tawanna Jackson, whose first-grade daughter normally would have been in the room where the bullets hit but was in a different class at the time. "You could tell the kids were scared.
"She definitely won't be back here next year," Jackson added. "It's the area. I don't blame the school, but I don't like the area."
Parents received a letter this week, but it only stated that there was "an incident" at the school, said Sunserai Evans, who has 3-year-old and a 5-year-old attending Head Start in the building.
"We regret to inform you that a violent incident occurred in the proximity of the school building on Monday, March 4, 2013," Principal Alene Mason wrote in the letter. "I am sure that this event has raised serious concerns for the entire school community, especially in our students.
"Be assured that we are doing everything we can to provide for the physical and emotional safety of your student while in our care," Mason wrote.
Joplin officials refused to comment Friday on the incident.
CPS district spokesman David Miranda said, "Joplin School officials took appropriate measures to protect the safety of its students Monday and no students or staff were injured. As always, we continue to work with police and others to ensure that our students have a safe and secure learning environment."
While Evans agrees the school couldn't foresee the incident in advance, he would have liked more information from the school about what happened and is worried about leaving the kids there in the future.
"I'm concerned about [the kids'] safety," Evans said. School officials are "not really telling us what was going on. It's a concern just dropping them off."