ATLANTA – Parents of two Atlanta Public Schools students are fuming after their daughters were accosted by local transit police and forced into a “truancy van” on their way to school.
Twins Carrie and Colleen Miller attend Grady High School, about 2.5 miles from their house, and the girls and a friend decided to walk to school last Wednesday when a substitute bus driver failed to pick them up, WXIA reports.
When the group was about 50 yards from the school, they were approached by police officers with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Colleen Miller told the news site.
“We were just walking and we see a parked MARTA van, and then a MARTA police stops and two men come out. They said, ‘Can you get in the van?’ And we were like ‘Why?’ but they wouldn’t tell us,” she said.
The Miller girls, who are daughters of a WXIA employee, recorded part of the encounter.
“They were forcing us to get in the van, it was more like, ‘Get into the van!’ And we were so confused,” Carrie Miller said.
The girls’ father, Mark Miller, said that forcing the teens into a van without explanation goes against everything parents teach their children about strangers and safety.
“I was upset because I knew my girls were frightened,” he said. “They know not to get into a van even if it’s a MARTA van. We do we know they’re truly MARTA police? Especially when they’re right at school, and they didn’t need to get into a van anyway.”
Carrie Miller said the officers did little to ease their concerns.
“We were so confused,” she said. “Why are there two men not explaining? Why is it MARTA? We kept questioning them and they would never give us full answers. They were very vague and I was very scared that something bad would happen because you hear those stories every day.”
The girls were eventually hauled the last 50 yards to school in the van.
Atlanta Public Schools officials released a statement explaining its truancy policy, which few parents are aware of, WXIA reports.