DeKalb County

Metro Atlanta principal says he ‘doesn’t have time’ to stop kids from vaping, fighting in restroom

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County mother sat down with her son’s high school principal to demand answers after he was attacked in the school’s restroom while more than 20 others watched.

At least 22 boys were in the restroom at Cedar Grove High School vaping when a fight broke out and one boy was violently attacked.

Stephanie Barnes sat down exclusively with Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes after she recorded a conversation with the principal.

She says her 17-year-old son was attacked two weeks ago.

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“It was very scary. I immediately reached out to the school board and the principal,” Barnes described.

Several boys were vaping in the restroom. Barnes says her son was in the wrong for being part of the group, but she was concerned about so many being in there at the same time.

She spoke with Principal Clifton Spears the next day and recorded their conversation.

“The fact that there are 20 plus kids in that video, in that bathroom, unsupervised is ridiculous,” Barnes can be heard saying.

“So, so you want us to be in the bathroom?” Spears replies.

“I want somebody. There shouldn’t be 20 children in there,” she said.

“You are absolutely right, ma’am, and that happens every day,” the principal said.

“Then it needs to stop,” Barnes told Spears.

“Regardless of what what you want us to do? Because I talk to them every day. I go in there every day. It happens every day. I don’t have time every day to watch them go in the bathroom because they want to vape,” Spears told her.


Principal Spears goes on to say that there are teachers close by when this is happening.

“Ok, and at no point does the teacher go in and see all these children going in?” Barnes questioned.

“Teachers, that’s not their responsibility to go in the bathroom,” Spears said.

“To see that there’s 20-something students in there, that’s negligent,” she said.

“No, it’s not. This is not elementary school,” he said.

Barnes’ son was suspended but district administrators ended up reducing the suspension for him from 10 days to five.

They also shared a statement with Fernandes that read in part,

”…Since the incident, Cedar Grove High School has implemented extra security protocols and monitoring to reduce bathroom overcrowding before and during school hours…”

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