AP

Students make video to prove their high school needs repairs

Apr 16, 2022, 10:06 AM | Updated: Apr 18, 2022, 6:53 am

The short documentary video opens with a high school student explaining how human waste flows up from the ground and floods an area where he and his friends eat lunch.

In the eight-minute video with background music and captions of key quotes, students at Druid Hills High School use iPhones to document the classrooms, hallways and bathrooms that are crumbling around them.

In several scenes, plaster is falling off walls, and water is dripping around electrical outlets in one area. So much water has leaked into the weight room that it oozes up from the floor when a student steps on it. Another student demonstrates how one of the holes in a ceiling is so large that he can put his entire hand through it.

“You can tell someone about the conditions but when you visually see it, it’s a lot more impactful,” sophomore Harley Martz, one of the students who produced the video, told The Associated Press in an interview. “Some of the things we pointed out in the video are very undeniable.”

“As you walk through the school now, you can smell the mold and it’s kind of really nasty,” Montrice Berry, a junior student at Druid Hills, says in the video. “So I tend to walk outside just so I can avoid the smell.”

Now, after the video came out, “every time I go walking the halls, people are like ‘I’m so proud of you for speaking up,'” Berry said in an interview.

The video, which has garnered more than 27,000 views so far since it was posted on YouTube this month, has prompted outrage among some parents in the suburban area just east of Atlanta who want repairs made. It was produced after the DeKalb County School Board in February removed Druid Hills from a list of schools in need of priority renovations.

The video won praise from other students.

“I walked into my first period and my fellow students were applauding,” Martz said.

It is the latest effort by students, parents and teachers across the nation to show people what conditions are like in their schools – and make their case that improvements are badly needed.

In Virginia, journalism students documented conditions at Maury High School and showed the video on the YouTube channel they use for school news broadcasts. Administrators ordered them to remove the video from the YouTube channel in 2019.

The same year in Louisiana, a video by residents exposed problems at Block High School in Jonesville, about 90 miles (about 145 kilometers) northwest of Baton Rouge. In Duvall County, Florida, the county produced a similar video in 2019 to persuade voters to approve a sales tax measure that would pay for repairs.

In Georgia, the DeKalb County School Board will consider a resolution “to modernize Druid Hills High School,” according to the meeting agenda. The school has been in operation since the 1920s and is among the oldest in Georgia, according to historical accounts from the school district. Film crews used it as the backdrop for several scenes in the 2000 film “Remember the Titans.”

The agenda for Monday’s meeting includes no specifics, so it’s unclear what the board will discuss or ultimately do.

The video showed “many areas of concern throughout the building that we have long known about and have been working to address in meaningful ways,” Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris said in an April 13 letter to community members the district also shared with the media.

“As always, we are grateful for the advocacy of these students for themselves and future generations of learners,” she wrote.

The school district and board “remain fully committed to ensuring that all scholars are in positive learning environments,” she wrote, adding that she expects the board’s next steps will be to “move forward with renovations at the school, including addressing immediate needs.”

But students are waiting to see concrete steps being taken to improve their school.

“So far I feel like they’re just talking,” Berry said. “I don’t really see a change so far. No one has really done anything.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

4 minutes ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

20 hours ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

2 days ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

2 days ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

3 days ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Students make video to prove their high school needs repairs