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Druid Hills High School students expose mold, crumbling walls, sewage leak at school

The near 100-year-old school was taken off of the priority list for renovations this year.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Mold on the walls, holes in the ceiling and an open threat of electrocution--students at Druid Hills High School say their building is falling apart, and the district won't do anything to help.

The near 100-year-old school was on the priority list for renovations this year, but the school board voted in February to take it off.

The students who attend school there are now making a passionate case that their school needs to be back on that list.

The students who made the video say it's impossible to tell from the outside just how bad the conditions are so they wanted everyone to be able to see inside the school for themselves.

"Human waste tends to flood up from here and come up, which is known as our senior picnic area, and it becomes a problem because we can smell what human waste smells like when we are trying to eat our lunch," explains Druid Hills Senior Townes Purdy in the online video. 

The video shows an elevator that will only go up, dirty and nonfunctioning bathrooms, and widespread water damage. 

He worked with his classmates to expose the conditions at the high school in an eight minute video that was just released online.

"These signs here say do not touch the poles or the outlets! Because we are at risk of electrical shock to get anywhere near them," he said.

Other students show crumbling bathrooms, mold on the walls, and extensive water damage throughout the building.

Townes Dad says even he was shocked to see all the problems inside the school.

"I knew things were bad, but seeing that video is shocking. I'm a little surprised the school is not getting shut down today," said Nick Purdy. 

He says he's proud of his son and all of the students who are just asking to have a safe place to learn.

"We spent the last two years talking about safety in public schools and dealing with COVID and being strict with rules around that, and yet we are allowing these students and teachers to be in an environment every day that's clearly unsafe," he said. 

"We are not asking for too much. We are asking for the things we need to succeed in life. Safety is the number one thing we are saying," said the students. 

Druid Hills High School was on the priority list for renovations this year with $52 million allocated to improvements. But in their February meeting, the board removed the school from the priority list and said they would revisit the plans at a later date.

In a statement, a district spokesperson said:

"The DeKalb County School District and Board of Education remain committed to ensuring that all our scholars are in positive learning environments. A proposal to renovate Druid Hills High School as part of the E-SPLOST VI project list is on the April 18 Board agenda."

The students say that's not good enough.

"It's hard to have a positive learning environment when you're dealing with all of these conditions. They're not prioritizing our learning. Everyone wants a safe and productive learning environment, but we can't have that," he said. 

The next school board meeting is April 18, and they say they all plan to be there.


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