Major remake of school nixed after students filmed disrepair

Apr 19, 2022, 12:56 PM | Updated: 1:30 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Despite a student-produced video showing gaping holes in ceilings, crumbling bathrooms and signs warning of possible electrical shock around utilities in one room, a metro Atlanta school board has decided not to put Druid Hills High School in line for a major modernization project.

Instead, the DeKalb County Board of Education voted 5-2 this week to change its plan for repairs of schools districtwide. Druid Hills High had been on a list of schools set for major overhauls until it was removed earlier this year. The decision sparked anger among parents and led to students creating the documentary video that has drawn more than 44,000 views on YouTube.

In the eight-minute video, students used iPhones to document plaster falling off walls, water leaking in many areas and a ceiling hole so big a student is shown placing his entire hand through it. The students also describe teh smell of human waste in a lunch area of the school, which has century-old water pipes.

The school board’s decision not to put Druid Hills back on the list was “incredibly disappointing” and “unconscionable,” said board member Marshall Orson, who represents neighborhoods near the school and has pushed for the major renovations since dropped from the plans.

Cost estimates to tear down and rebuild some parts of the school and completely modernize it range from $52 million to $60 million.

“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. “This would not be acceptable anywhere. The notion that this is acceptable at one of our schools is incomprehensible.”

But Board Chair Vickie Turner said before the vote that “our goal is to provide equity across the district.” The new plan dashes hopes that Druid Hills would get a multimillion-dollar project to modernize it, but it also spreads money for less costly maintenance projects to schools across the district, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Druid Hills High has been in existence since the 1920s and its oldest building is about 95 years old. Actor Denzel Washington walked its halls and athletic fields when it was used to film the 2000 movie “Remember the Titans” — about a football team breaking down racial barriers. The school serves about 1,330 students and is among the most diverse in metro Atlanta, with about 40% Black students, 30% white, 14% Hispanic and 11% Asian.

Under the plan approved this week, Druid Hills might receive some money for individual projects just as other schools in the district will, but nowhere near the amount needed to fix its substantial problems now that it’s off the list for a major rebuild, Orson said.

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


This photo provided by Robert Wilkes, owner of a house boat management company, shows smoke rising ...

Associated Press

Houseboats catch fire while docked at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell

More than half a dozen house boats momentarily caught fire at a popular boating destination on the Utah-Arizona line on Friday.

3 days ago

File - Women work in a restaurant kitchen in Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2023. On Friday, the U.S....

Associated Press

US hiring, unemployment jump in May and what that says about the economy

The nation’s employers stepped up their hiring in May, adding a robust 339,000 jobs, well above expectations.

3 days ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Associated Press

Oath Keeper from Arizona sentenced for role in Jan. 6 riot at US Capitol

Edward Vallejo, a U.S. Army veteran from Phoenix, oversaw a “Quick Reaction Force” at a Virginia hotel that was prepared to deploy an arsenal of weapons into Washington if needed, authorities say.

4 days ago

FILE - U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz listens during a news conference, Jan. 5, 2023, in Washi...

Associated Press

US Border Patrol chief is retiring after seeing through end of Title 42 immigration restrictions

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced Tuesday that he was retiring, after seeing through a major policy shift that seeks to clamp down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border following the end of Title 42 pandemic restrictions.

5 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., on the House steps as...

Associated Press

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

The House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

5 days ago

Sean Bickings (Family Photo via city of Tempe)...

Associated Press

Family of man who drowned last year in Tempe Town Lake files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of a man who drowned in Tempe Town Lake a year ago filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city Wednesday, noting that its police department doesn't have a policy requiring officers to go into the water to save someone.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Major remake of school nixed after students filmed disrepair