A Georgia mother is speaking out after she claims a school official tried to silence her concerns about alleged filthy conditions at a metro Atlanta high school.
Brandell Allison said she was discussing the sanitation issues at South Cobb High School with another parent on campus Friday afternoon when she was confronted by Principal Clint Terza. The conversation with the school official started amicably enough but ended with Allison being asked to leave campus.
Terza accused Allison of causing a disruption. However, the frustrated mother said that wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t cause a disturbance,” she told CBS46, which aired a previous report on the school’s sanitation issues. “I wasn’t loud, or rude or disrespectful.”
An earlier report by the station detailed disgusting conditions inside the Cobb County high school, including rats, rat feces, cockroaches and brown running water. Several parents, including Allison, went before the school board last week to voice their concerns over what they say are a lack of resources and unsanitary conditions at schools across the district.
Parents and students also provided purported photos of the filth, one of which appeared to show a large rat wading in the bathroom toilet.
While discussing the issues with a fellow parent, Allison said she was approached by Terza, who called the report “a lie.”
“It is?” Allison asked, according to audio obtained by CBS 46.
“Yes,” the principal replied matter-of-factly.
“So you don’t have…?” Allison began before Terza interrupted to deny there were any rats in the toilets.
Allison then offered to show video of the swimming rat, to which Terza responded that the image was “photo-shopped” and “staged.” He later accused Allison of causing a “disturbance” at the school.
The mother said moments later a school resource officer came over and asked her to leave the property.
“The officer stood there and waited until after I got my child,” she recalled, adding he was “very patient and a very good gentleman.”
In response to inquiries regarding the district’s progress in addressing the unsanitary conditions and Terza’s alleged comments, a district spokesman attempted to downplay parents’ concerns.
“The Cobb County School District is proud to have been serving students at South Cobb for the last 67 years and continue to be proud of the work and facility being led by Principal Terza,” officials told CBS46 in a statement. “As any community member who walks on campus can immediately see, [that] the referenced pictures are wildly inaccurate.”
Last week, however, a comment from the district’s official Facebook page stated that, “Every Cobb school is regularly inspected” and that “most of the pictures referenced above were months old and have been resolved.” The message was in response a parent who’d commented on an article about the school’s deplorable conditions.
When asked for clarification on their statement calling the photos “wildly inaccurate” after an initial post claimed most of the photos were old and had been addressed, the district gave an updated response.
“Any real facility issues brought to Principal Terza’s attention have been resolved quickly and effectively AND the referenced pictures are wildly inaccurate,” it read.