Gov. Brian Kemp 'highly concerned' over firing of DeKalb County Schools superintendent

A state lawmaker now wants Governor Brian Kemp to get involved in the DeKalb County Schools turmoil.

This comes after the abrupt firing of Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris and the poor conditions inside Druid Hills High School.

In a statement, Gov. Kemp said:

"I am highly concerned that these serious issues in DeKalb County could be a result of a school system choosing politics over students, families, and educators, and as Governor of the State of Georgia, I take very seriously my job to advocate for all Georgia citizens – especially our most valuable resource, our students. My office will remain in close communication with the Georgia Department of Education on these issues to determine what further action is needed."

Some parents believe Watson-Harris is the district's scapegoat.

"She was not popular with some board members, and they made no secrets about that," Odette Diaz Schuler, whose children attend Druid Hills High, said. 

Another parent, Tamara Shipley, went on to say that "It's ridiculously. It's absurd. She hasn't even been there two years now." 

Some DeKalb County parents said they believe the board was probably gunning for Watson-Harris for some time.

They said the revolving door of superintendent's over the years is concerning.

"At some point the board has to say to itself, 'if everyone I work with is a problem and I can’t get along with them', at some point, you have to ask yourself, 'am I the problem,'" Diaz Schuler questioned. 

In recent months, Watson-Harris and the school board received intense criticism over the way they handled complaints of poor conditions at Druid Hills.

On Monday, State Superintendent Richard Woods sent a scathing letter to district leaders calling out what he says is a lack of leadership and responsibility - telling the board to work with Watson-Harris to improve school buildings.

Instead, on Tuesday night, the board fired her.

"What I've observed in board meetings and the way that the board has treated Ms. Watson-Harris was, was inappropriate," Shipley described. 

In a letter to Gov. Kemp and Woods, State Senator Elena Parent said she's concerned about actions taken in recent months by the DeKalb County Board of Education.

Those actions, she believes, paint the picture of a school district quickly spinning into turmoil.

"The recent by the school board leaves the impression that they're rushing to judgement and not leaving critical decisions in a thoughtful manner with openness, transparency and public feedback," she expressed.

State superintendent woods said the firing continues to erode not only the public’s trust, but his trust in the board's seriousness to address the issues facing the school district.

On Wednesday, the board's chairperson, Vickie B. Turner, addressed the firing saying the changes they've made are for the benefit of the children.

"We came to make a change, so we can deal with the challenges in our facilities," she said. 

Watson-Harris told us she was blindsided by the firing. The state superintendent plans to forward state senator parent's complaint to the Attorney General's Office.