Parents call on Cobb School Board members to address UV light safety

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Parents in the Cobb County School District are calling on school board members to address their safety concerns.

The school district was using UV lights to sanitize some elementary school classrooms as part of its proof-of concept. Last week, the district put the project on hold after the lights malfunctioned at Argyle Elementary in Smyrna.

The UV lights are supposed to run overnight when no one is in the building. The district said an issue with a power source resulted in a “number of UV lights” flickering on and off.

“We really need to slow down and to really incorporate the voices of our stakeholders,” said Latoya Palmer-Addy, a parent of three Cobb County students. “I feel like we need to have more open conversations because through those conversations, you will really be able to get down to the root of the problem and come up with real, lasting solutions.”

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In December, the school board approved up to $12 million to pay for COVID-19 mitigation products, including UV lights in schools.

Dr. Jaha Howard is one of two board members who voted no.

In a new push, he’s urging other members to put the item on the agenda at the school boarding meeting this month.

“This is public education. Hold us accountable. You deserve it. Our children deserve it. Our educators deserve it. Let’s do what we need to do,” said Howard. “As a fellow parent, we’re all concerned about the safety of the products that we’re using.”

To get an item on the agenda, Howard will need the support of three other board members.

Republicans have a 4-3 majority on the board.

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose emailed all seven board members.

Charisse Davis told Jose, “There’s no way we have a fourth vote on anything, and even in the rare instance that we do, we see how quickly they will ‘take it back.’”