Fire Marshal shuts down charter school over safety inspections

Updated:

RIVERDALE, Ga. —

A Clayton County charter school forced to delay its opening last week finally let students in the door Monday morning, but not for long.
 
Police officers and firefighters shut down the Utopian Academy for the Arts Monday morning due to safety inspection issues.
 
Riverdale’s Fire Marshal showed up around 9:15 Monday morning, after most parents had dropped off their kids and left.
 
The school building was evacuated and more than 200 students were taken into the gym. Some were still waiting to be picked up at noon.
 
The Fire Marshal said the school did not have the correct inspections done on the alarm and sprinkler system and he’s concerned about the safety of the students.
 
The principal said all the checks were completed over the weekend, and the city just needs to do its final checks. It appears those checks will not happen on Monday.
 
“But we can’t do anything today, so we’re going to have to dismiss school today. Hopefully he can do his job and my goal is to try to open school tomorrow,” Principal Fredrick Birkett said.
 
That statement brought cheers from the crowd of parents that had gathered Monday morning.
 
The Fire Marshal told Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach he does not know if the inspection can be completed on Monday.
 
As the school was evacuated, the school’s founder was in court, suing the city of Riverdale. We will update this story when we learn the outcome of the hearing.