Deteriorating School Will Not Get Upgrades, Despite Student Documentary Efforts

Despite students' best efforts, the deplorable conditions inside Druid High School will go without school improvements.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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Not even the best efforts by students attending Druid Hills High School can save it. Their best efforts included a professionally produced, eventually eye-opening and sad, 8-minute video tour of their rundown school. “Rundown,” though, is probably too tame a word to describe the horrors students face on a daily basis. School improvements are a necessity, something they sadly will not be getting.

You can see the poor conditions students must try to learn in below.

The reason for the video was to showcase each and every issue students deal with. Druid Hills High School had been in line for major school improvements until just last week when the DeKalb County Board of Education voted 5-2 to remove the school from the list of schools in need of repair. The school board’s decision was met with much anger from students and their parents, prompting the students to produce their video.

In the video, in which students used their iPhones to record, they walked through the high school campus, focusing on the horrible conditions. As the video begins, one senior student stands in an area he calls the “senior picnic area.” There, he says, students eat but when there are plumbing problems, human waste flows out, flooding their area. Kids are supposed to eat there in waste and smell. The video then moves to a female sophomore student inside one of the female bathrooms in the gym lobby. She goes on to point out why school improvements are badly needed as the ceiling above has no panel and water is leaking into a trashcan beneath it. She claims the missing ceiling panel and leaking have been going on for months. She points out that only one of the bathroom stall doors locks and above another the ceiling leaks there as well.

school improvements

The students then move into the boy’s bathroom in the gym lobby to show where more school improvements are needed. A male student points out one of the major issues they face – no doors whatsoever on the bathroom stalls. The separators on the urinals are held barely by one screw.

Inside the computer lab, students point out the horrible water damage they deal with. The ceilings and walls are crumbling and in major need of a school improvement. The student then points out a shocking sign, one that is located right in the middle of the computer lab. The sign reads, “Do not touch the POLE! Do not touch the OUTLETS on the POLE! (Electric Shock).”

All of these much-needed school improvements were shown in the first three minutes of the video. The students continued their tour, and things didn’t get any better. It is heartbreaking just as much as it is infuriating. How can a school board allow kids to go to school under these conditions? Not only are they deplorable, but they appear to also be life-threatening.

Marshall Orson is one of the board members who voted to put Druid Hills back on the school improvement list, calling the vote “incredibly disappointing” and “unconscionable.” Orson represents the Druid Hills neighborhood and has been pushing for the high school’s major renovations for some time. He can’t understand the decision. “It was sad that a majority of the board is willing to consign the students to a facility that is in just deplorable conditions,” Orson said via AP News. “This would not be acceptable anywhere. The notion that this is acceptable at one of our schools is incomprehensible.”

school improvements

One possible reason for the eventual “no” vote is that the school improvements needed were extensive and they were estimated to cost $52 million to $60 million. Board Chair Vickie Turner said before the final nail was slammed into Druid Hills’ coffin that the Board’s “goal is to provide equity across the district.” It was for this reason the vote went against the crumbling high school and instead used the money for many schools’ maintenance issues across the district.

Thankfully, the students’ plight has not fallen on deaf ears. Their video caught the attention of the Georgia Department of Education, who in turn toured the 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 the next steps in the next week or so,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Education via CBS 46 News regarding the school improvements.

Druid Hills High School has been around for nearly a century with its oldest building close to 95 years old. The school board did approve a plan for school improvements after nixing Druid Hills’ big renovation, but the money they might receive will not come even close to what they need for a complete overhaul. Before this travesty, the school was best known for being the school Denzel Washington walked through in the movie, Remember the Titans.

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