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‘Scared to touch the sink’ – Druid Hills High students publish video showing school’s poor condition

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‘Scared to touch the sink’ – Druid Hills High students publish video showing school’s poor condition

A screenshot of a video published by Druid Hills High students showing conditions at the school.

Atlanta, GA — The beautiful brick facade of Druid Hills High School hides an ugly truth.

On the inside, students say, the school building is a neglected mess. The students produced an 8-minute video showing the public what they see when they go to class every day. Recently, the DeKalb School Board voted to remove a “modernization” of Druid Hills High School from a list of proposed school repair and renovation projects sent to the Georgia Department of Education. Students — and their parents — are asking the district to reverse that decision.

The students’ video is a highlight reel of health and safety concerns.

At one point in the video, the students filmed a flaking wall and wrote, “We don’t know what’s in these paint chips or what the mold is.”

When it rains, sewage routinely bubbles up in the picnic area where seniors eat. Poles in one of the school’s computer labs have signs warning students not to touch them or risk getting an electrical shock. There are bathroom stalls with no doors. Sinks that are not adhered to the wall. Water damage in numerous rooms. Mold, too. Emergency vehicles can’t reach the athletic field and back of the school because the driveway is too narrow.

“There appears to be water dripping past electrical boxes,” another caption says.

And on and on and on.

“It’s hard to have a positive learning environment while you’re facing all these conditions,” one of the students says.

“We’re not asking for too much, I don’t think,” another student says.

Despite public pressure from parents, DeKalb County School Board members have not revisited the issue.

Parents concerned about the condition of the school have begun meeting as the DHHS Red Devil Task Force. According to a planning document forwarded to Decaturish, they say the buildings have been “Frankensteined” together over the years, creating a number of security, health and safety issues at the school.

In 2020 the DeKalb County School District hired the architecture firm Perkins & Will to do an assessment of the district’s facilities and make recommendations on how to bring various facilities up to standard. Those recommendations formed part of the basis for the district’s Comprehensive Master Plan. Each school received both a Facility Condition Assessment and an Educational Suitability Assessment. Druid Hills High School’s FCA is 69 and its ESA is 57.6.

“When you average them, we’re the lowest of any high school,” said Ken Schroeder, chair of the Druid Hills Cluster Alliance, in a previous Decaturish story about the school. Schroeder said that the score was higher than it would otherwise be because of a science wing built in 2010, but that the other buildings individually received scores in the 50s.

Writer Sara Amis contributed to this story. 

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