DALLAS - Some Dallas students who have voiced concerns about improvements needed at South Oak Cliff High School in the past shot video of a mouse in their classroom.
The students shared a video of a mouse caught in a trap in a classroom from the Twitter account ‘Stand with South Oak Cliff.’
School Board Member Lew Blackburn already had a community meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss renovation plans for the campus.
The problems at the high school range from big issues like roof leaks and climate control to even the smallest nuisances.
"It's terrible. No kids should have to try and be in a learning institution,” said Pastor Maxie Johnson, president of the SOC Parent Coalition. “And rodents are coming out in class while they're trying to learn? That's just terrible when it comes to education."
School and district officials say if the video is true, no one in the classroom reported it and none of the students can be identified.
"Like a lot of people, I asked the principal, ‘Did anyone report it to you?’ And I don't think anyone reported it to the principal,” Blackburn said. ‘So rather than put those kinds of things on the Internet, report it to the appropriate people so we can take care of it."
South Oak Cliff's maintenance problems are a long running concern for Blackburn. His Tuesday night meeting with parents, teachers and community members is to show what is coming in the next few months thanks to a $52 million bond measure passed in 2015.
"We're going to have a new front entrance, a new side entrance for the students,” he said. “I'm going to take care of the library, the cafeteria, the auditorium and a brand-new gymnasium. And we're gonna do some other cosmetic work inside the classrooms and other places."
Critics have complained that the community needs a brand new school. Blackburn acknowledges that over the years South Oak Cliff has been in various states of disrepair but is not too old to renovate.
"We have quite a few schools that are older than South Oak Cliff High School. The average age of schools in Dallas ISD is about 50,” he explained. “South Oak Cliff is about 60, so it's a little bit older than the average. But we have schools that are older. We are able to take these older buildings and still renovate them and make them useful for our kids."
Blackburn’s meeting Tuesday night is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.