News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A principal who was escorted out of a Richmond County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night has announced his retirement.
Parents say they are scared. School police were called in when we tried to ask questions about mold concerns at the school.
"You can't be on the premises of the school. Don't record me," said the officer. "You need to go to the sidewalk."
The tense moments came after retiring school Principal Gibbons pounded the pavement outside the Board of Education to raise awareness about the issue.
"There is a stifling odor," said parent Joyce Munford. "And then I looked at teachers with the masks on."
"Teachers are wearing masks?" we asked.
"Teachers are wearing masks, sir," Munford replied. "That's what they don't want you all to go in there and see."
The executive director of elementary schools refused to answer our questions.
"Mr. Thomas. I know you sir, and you are not here to be kind," said Cheryl Jones. "I do not want to answer any questions, and I don't want this in my face."
We went straight to the school superintendent about the principal's mold concerns.
"What he is saying and what is actuality don't meet," said Dr. Frank Roberson.
But parents tell a different story. They are concerned about their children.
"I'm scared for her because I have walked through the school," said Munford about her daughter. "I am stifled for the smell of mold and mildew."
So is the building safe?
"The building and the environment are very very safe," Roberson said. "We have the documentation to prove that."
We got our hands on emails about a recent environmental study claiming the results are "very good." But when we stopped by the attorney's office to pick up a copy for ourselves, we left empty handed. They say it's not ready.
"So there is no mold in the building at all?" we asked Roberson.
"I'll have to go back and review that specific question," said Roberson after a long pause. "Since you are being very specific."
Hal Thomason has been named interim principal.