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Ga. Dept. of Education tours Druid Hills High amidst renovation confusion

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - On Tuesday, members of the Georgia Department of Education toured Druid Hills High School.

“Issues at Druid Hills were brought to our attention and our facilities team reached out to DeKalb to schedule a tour of the facility, which took place today. We will have more information on next steps in the next week or so,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Education.

The conditions of the school were made public thanks in large part to a student-produced video released last week.

Students claim they have constant leaks, raw sewage pooling, exposed wires, and rampant mold.

On Tuesday, as students rallied outside district headquarters, the DeKalb County School Board voted against significant renovations to Druid Hills, instead of moving forward with a plan that would spread allocated dollars district-wide.

Parents of Druid Hills students said they will continue to fight this latest action.

“There’s no justice in this process,” said Maria Gutierrez, who has a senior at Druid Hills High School. “We’ve waited our turn and our building is literally falling around these kids.”

Gutierrez and others were upset that the school board, at the eleventh hour, disregarded a plan that prioritized Druid Hills for significant renovations.

“Last night was astounding. It was shocking. You have to question the capability of this board to solve the problems of DeKalb,” said Ken Shroeder, another parent.

Despite Monday’s vote, it’s still unclear which schools will be prioritized for modernization, when the renovations will start, and how far state funds will stretch.

“The vote went the way that it did and now it’s my responsibility as the superintendent to take the information, unpack it, and come up with a plan for implementation,” said Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris, in an interview with CBS46.

Watson-Harris said she accompanied the state representatives on Tuesday as they walked through Druid Hills High School.

She stressed the need for school officials to remain transparent as they continue to iron out the details of the latest renovation plan.

“We’re working with our community to ensure that we are able to get clarity on exactly what the vote means,” said Watson-Harris.

A district spokesperson said there is a planning meeting on April 26.

“We are going to make good on the promises to make sure that Druid Hills is in the condition that we all want for all of the children,” Watson-Harris said.