DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Fallout in the DeKalb County School District continues, with state officials and parents putting pressure on school board members to address the poor conditions in school buildings and with officials criticizing the board for firing the superintendent.
Dr. Rochelle Bradford’s 16-year-old twins are among the students still attending classes at Druid Hills High School, despite the video they made showing mold, leaks and sewage issues.
“There’s no more time. There’s no more pushing it down the road. Some things need to be fixed immediately,” said Bradford. “This is not just a Druid Hills issue. This is a DeKalb County issue.”
State School Superintendent Richard Woods reprimanded the district this week in letters to the school board, calling the issues unacceptable, and even pointing out how the district has failed to use available funding.
He also criticized the school board’s decision to fire Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris. “She was only in there for a couple of years, so by their own admission, this didn’t start with just her,” Bradford said.
The school board hired Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley and defended its decision at a press conference on Wednesday. “The challenges that we have dealt with in our school district were being ignored in some ways,” said School Board Chair Vickie Turner, who represents District 5.
Governor Brian Kemp issued the following statement:
I am highly concerned that these serious issues in DeKalb County could be a result of a school system choosing politics over students, families, and educators, and as Governor of the State of Georgia, I take very seriously my job to advocate for all Georgia citizens – especially our most valuable resource, our students. My office will remain in close communication with the Georgia Department of Education on these issues to determine what further action is needed.
All sides say it’s about the students. “They advocated for their own safety and for their own health, and they really deserve all the credit,” said Bradford.
According to Woods’ letter dated April 27, 2022, his office is planning immediate corrective action. “So far, it’s been all talk. We will believe it when we see it, but that has not been the case so far,” Bradford said.
The board did not immediately respond to CW69’s request for comment Thursday afternoon. Tinsley previously announced the district is assessing the situation, and more details are expected in the coming weeks.