ATLANTA — State Rep. Beth Moore says so far, she's received more than 200 whistleblower emails from concerned teachers and students across Georgia who are in school or set to begin classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I am planning for 27 students in my tiny classroom they are not making masks mandatory. Our principal jokes that this is God’s cleansing plan," Moore read from an email.
"Our superintendent seems to take the hold your nose and close your eyes and hope for the best approach, we have no backup plan," read another.
Moore created the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org after Hannah Waters was suspended from North Paulding High School for posting a picture online of crowded hallways with no masks and no social distancing. It wasn’t until days later amid outrage online that the school dropped the punishment.
"When a student tries to do the right thing to keep people safe and she gets punished that’s not the kind of world that I want to live in,” Moore said.
She says this is a way for students and teachers to speak out, without any backlash. She is keeping their names anonymous - but shared some of their claims.
Like this email from a teacher in Forsyth County:
"Every class I teach has 30-31 students...we start on Thursday and there's no way we can socially distance with that many kids in one class," read Moore.
We asked Forsyth County Schools about it.
"There are situations where they will have up to a full class size," said Jennifer Caracciolo, Communications Director for Forsyth County.
The district says masks are not mandated but encouraged.
"Everyone had a mask the schools have spirit masks," she added.
Another email from a Fulton County teacher read:
"I have a coworker who has decided to report to the building today even though she had a positive Covid test last week...I couldn't sleep last night because I fear I could be exposed today," read Moore.
We asked Fulton County Schools about that claim and they responded:
“We require employees to report both symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or diagnosis of a positive case. Any employee who fails to do so is subject to discipline, up to and including termination...
The concerned co-worker should direct their concern to HR, the FCS Tip Line, Fraud, Waste, Abuse line, which can be made anonymously, or the Zone Superintendent for their school. In other words, there are numerous ways to alert the district and to have the manner assessed.”
Moore says most teachers who emailed were concerned students wouldn't wear masks or that they didn't have the right cleaning supplies.
"I have numerous emails from teachers and schools who are told that if they don’t like the conditions in the schools their only option is to quit," said Moore.
Moore says she also received emails from students in Cherokee County claiming they were bullied for wanting to wear a mask.
Cherokee County responded to this claim stating this:
"(We) have not received reports of bullying over masks. If a student has experienced bullying for any reason, they or their parents need to report it to the school administration so it can be promptly addressed. We also offer students, parents and employees the option of reporting any safety issues, including bullying, through our SafeSchools Alert System, which allows for anonymous reporting as well."