Joshua Williams, DeKalb Schools’ chief operations officer, said the location is within the state’s regulations for proximity to a hazardous materials manufacturer. The school district announced the site for the new school late last year, and had gone through much of its due diligence by the end of November. Williams said a third-party engineer’s suggestions have resulted in several items to protect the location, including adding height to the boundary wall.
“As always, we’re always concerned about student safety,” Williams said. “And we ensure we follow state-mandated risk-management protocols.”
Rebecca Morris, a former DeKalb teacher who serves as an advocate for residents in underserved communities, said the matter simply adds to her concerns on site selection for new DeKalb schools. When the district announced a new school in Doraville would be built on the site of current affordable housing, she questioned whether steps were taken to avoid displacing about 100 families, mostly Latino, some of them undocumented residents who couldn’t attain jobs to pay typical rent rates upwards of $1,500 in the immediate area.
“I have not been able to get evidence of thorough due diligence from the county,” she said. “All the sites they looked at had some risk associated. I was looking for some write-up on eliminating (risk concerns). There’s none.”