Goldsboro, North Carolina — Mold, mice and cockroaches are commonplace at Goldsboro High School, the students say.
The learning environment has been neglected as students say they are forced to watch plaster peel off walls and walk on rotting floors.
On Tuesday, three students raised their concerns at the Goldsboro City Council meeting.
“We have issues that people are watching, because they see Goldsboro High School and they think, ‘It’s just Goldsboro. It’s so ghetto over there. Children are so bad. But that’s not true at all,” student Christopher Smith said.
A total of 536 students attend high school and the majority of those students are black, according to state data from the 2020-2021 school year.
Smith and his classmates pleaded with the city council to do something about the dangerous conditions they are subjected to every day. The students said at the meeting that during class they had to chase wasps and cockroaches from their desks. Additionally, the students said they regularly saw rats and mice.
“How can we perform academically and still do great things like tonight, if the school isn’t up to it?” Smith asked. “We are supposed to learn around these conditions?”
Goldsboro City Council officials told students they had no jurisdiction to fix the school and told students to bring their concerns to the Wayne County Public Schools Board at their next meeting. April 8.
City Council member Charles Gaylor told Smith that he would be at the next board meeting on April 8 and that he would make sure the students had transportation to get there. to return.
“Goldsboro High School is a shadow of what it once was,” he said.
Ken Dersken, executive director of community engagement at Wayne County Public Schools, said he applauded the three students for standing up for their school at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
“At this time we are looking for work orders to confirm what repairs have been done in regards to damaged floor tiles and window frames from older air units, peeling paint in the stairwells and roofing issues that can contribute to leaks,” Dersken said in an email.
He also pointed out that the school had tried to temporarily solve the problems with rotting floors and broken tiles.
“We recognize that more effort could have been made sooner to replace the tiles, even if it meant temporarily moving students to another area of campus while work was underway,” he said.
Dersken said the school district doesn’t know “where the pest concerns are coming from,” but said the district will investigate those concerns.
School leaders pointed out that the district has allocated funds to address concerns about air quality in Wayne County schools.
“The Wayne County School Board approved an architectural firm in January to develop a scope of work for the necessary projects at Goldsboro High and Southern Wayne High,” it said in a statement. “Once the scope of work is complete and approved by the council, bidding for the projects will take place.”