Before the closure of North Paulding High, its director, Gabe Carmona, made an announcement to the students, warning: “Anything that happens on social media that is negative or the like without permission, photography is to video is nonsense, there will be consequences. “
Representative Moore tweeted Aug. 7 that she had created a whistleblower account for “students, teachers and administrators to share photos, videos and testimonials of unsafe conditions at school.”
“I will give you the anonymous coverage you need if you have been threatened with ‘consequences’,” she wrote.
Moore told CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL that she created the account “in direct response to what we saw coming out of North Paulding… where a student was punished. “
“This is an effort to ensure that if and when Georgia schools return to face-to-face teaching, we do so safely,” she said.
Within a week of creating the account, Moore says he received at least 650 complaints. The lawmaker shared a number of posts on Facebook, claiming they came from teachers, staff and bus drivers who are “deeply concerned” about plans to reopen Gwinnett County’s 141 public schools, a suburb north of Atlanta.
Moore told WGCL that once she receives an email, she verifies the information by searching the sender’s public records or by requiring proof of association with the school. According to Moore, a senior Gwinnett teacher wrote to the whistleblower’s account:
“I am a military veteran, a combat vet who served in Afghanistan. I made the switch to education because I believe deeply, fiercely in the promise and necessity of public education, in the brilliance and integrity of our youth. I didn’t sign up to be a martyr; if I wanted to die on the job, I would have stayed in the military. ”
And she says a verified Gwinnett bus driver wrote:
“The GCPS Administration informed us that at the end of August, all school bus drivers are required to transport students, whether or not they have masks. We have families, young children and underlying issues. Additionally, a large population of GCPS school bus drivers are over 60 years of age and are at high risk. It is unacceptable that the GCPS administration treats school bus drivers as if we are exhausted. ”
All of the officials whose stories were shared “have asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from their employer,” according to Moore.
The Gwinnett School District began “virtual education only” on Wednesday, Moore said, “but requires faculty to show up in person” and plans to start rolling out the return of students to campuses on August 26.
Another Georgia school district that reopened last week once saidquarantine for two weeks after dozens of COVID-19 tests came back positive. A high school in the Cherokee County School District has been temporarily closed due to COVID cases, Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower said in a post online.
According to the district, once a positive case is confirmed, contact tracing is done, parents of students are notified, and classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned before reopening.
Wearing a face mask is not a requirement for students in Cherokee County, but Hightower urged everyone to wear it.
More than 4,500 people in Georgia died from COVID-19 as of Friday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The state’s public health department reported 83 new COVID deaths on Thursday and 2,674 new cases.
The state reported its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday, 136, followed by 109 deaths on Wednesday.