DeKalb County

‘We still have work to do:’ Interim DeKalb superintendent addresses school violence

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Interim DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley says there is still work to be done when it comes to keeping schools safe.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes sat down exclusively with Tinsley.

Fernandes asked her what the district is doing to handle all the fights, violence and threats at schools recently.

Every time administrators are forced to put a school on lockdown, it interrupts learning and that is why Tinsley says we need to get to the root of the violence.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Tinsley says that she believes strengthening mental health is how you get to the root of fighting problems after so many students experienced trauma from the pandemic.

“If we don’t teach them how to understand what’s happening and what they’re dealing with, then it plays out in so many negative ways,” she explained.

Several schools in DeKalb County, and other counties across metro Atlanta, have experienced several threats against them. Tinsley says that they take each one seriously.

“I must share, when we receive info about threats, every threat, regardless of where it is or what type of threat, it’s taken seriously,” she said.

She and Fernandes also spoke about what the district is doing to fix some of the old buildings.


“We have an awesome team that worked over and beyond this summer to make sure that buildings were ready for students,” she said.

Dr. Tinsley came out of retirement to take on her current role right after students at Druid Hills High School created a viral video showing the declining conditions at their school.

In the six months she has been leading the district, Tinsley says they have made progress fixing the schools.

“Now, we still have work to do, we have not completed all the work that needs to be done, but I can tell you that when you go into some of these buildings and you see the changes that have been made, its just phenomenal,” she said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Many parents are also criticizing the district for not spending money wisely.

“We have issued a bid for someone to come in and do an analysis of two of our major funding sources,” she said. “So, yes, we are doing a deep comprehensive audit of those funds.”

Several district employees told Fernandes that Dr. Tinsley is stabilizing this school district.

She did not say whether or not she would be applying for the superintendent job, but she wants to see the transformation of the school district through.