May 12, 2022 - News

Students at another DeKalb school highlight maintenance issues

Illustration of a school bus with a money band-aid on it.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A month after Druid Hills High School students made a video revealing critical infrastructure issues at their 100-year-old facility, their peers in north DeKalb County are sounding a similar alarm.

Driving the news: On Monday, Lakeside High School students posted a video of some of the issues at their facility on Briarcliff Road, including sewage backups, mold, rainwater seeping into the building, missing ceiling tiles, filthy toilets, mold, roaches and rodents.

  • In the video, the viewer can see small puddles of standing water along the walls in one classroom.
  • A student on the swim and dive team said the school’s pool is in “horrible condition” and that its water is filled with rust that’s leaked from pipes. He also said the pool’s boiler is broken.

Why it matters: Parents and students clamoring for the DeKalb County School District to address the problems say children should not be forced to attend classes in buildings riddled with mold and other issues that can affect their health and safety.

What they’re saying: The students say they aren’t the only school in DeKalb suffering from maintenance and infrastructure issues.

  • “We hope that this video helps raise awareness about the things that are going on not just at Lakeside High School, but at other schools in DeKalb County,” one student said in the video.

The other side: Lakeside is 56 years old. A 2021 Facility Condition Assessment identified more than $10 million in needed improvements, DeKalb schools spokesperson Donald Porter tells Axios.

  • Porter says that over the past few years, the district has worked with Board of Education members to address immediate needs and come up with a plan for longer-term projects for its schools.
  • “To be sure, this labor-intensive work takes time and significant funding,” Porter says. “Yet, progress is being made every day.”

Catch up quick: Despite the video of Druid Hill's issues and pleas for fixes, DeKalb board members voted to focus on the most serious issues at all schools instead of adopting a resolution to modernize Druid Hills.

Earlier this week, students and parents from Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven issued a news release calling on the district to fix problems at their 64-year-old facility.

  • The issues there include mold on floor tiles, malfunctioning air conditioning systems, cracks in school walls, “dilapidated” portable classrooms with no internet connections and drainage issues.

Tell us: Are you a parent, student or staff member at a metro Atlanta school with mounting infrastructure problems? We want to know what you're seeing. Email us at [email protected].


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