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Brian Otott, Superintendent for Paulding County School District Fires Back at TMZ

Message From Dr. Otott

You may have seen a photo of a crowded high school hallway that is circulating widely on social media and has been reported by several national news media outlets. The photo appears to be from North Paulding High School. Some in the news media and some individuals on social media are taking this photo and using it without context to criticize our school reopening efforts.

Hopefully, I can provide some of the missing context. Under the COVID-19 protocols we have adopted, class changes that look like this may happen, especially at a high school with more than 2,000 students. Keep in mind that this situation complies with Georgia Department of Education’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools (developed in coordination with the Georgia Department of Public Health) where they recommend schools limit the congregation of students during transitions to the “extent practicable.” Class changes at the high school level are a challenge when maintaining a specific schedule. It is an area we are continuing to work on in this new environment to find practicable ways to further limit students from congregating. Students are in this hallway environment for just a brief period as they move to their next class. I have attached a document from the Department of Public Health that states exposure to COVID-19 occurs after “Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes.”

That is the context I wanted to provide. Now, with that said, there is no question that the photo does not look good. I can understand if your first reaction was one of concern. Our district is comprised of 33 schools serving more than 30,000 students in-person and virtually. We anticipated that adjustments may need to be made, so on July 24th we notified the community that we would be shortening the first week of school. Identifying needed adjustments and making improvements is one of the reasons why that decision was made. Students learning under in-person instruction are in school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, but will be learning remotely on Thursday and Friday so that all of our schools can step back and assess how things are going so far.

One area where we have received a good deal of feedback is mask use in our schools. Wearing a mask is a personal choice and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them. What we will do is continue to strongly encourage all students and staff to wear masks.

It is unfortunate that in this age of instant communication these types of issues can escalate so quickly without sufficient context. In situations like this, my job is to make sure you have the facts and then see what I can do to address the situation to support our students and staff. I look forward to working with our school staffs to make those adjustments on Thursday and Friday while your students are learning remotely. Thank you for your patience and support as we all adapt to this new learning model and make needed adjustments.

By Kevin C. Pride

The CEO of the Atlanta Business Journal Digital and Influencer 365, a digital marketing agency, Kevin works with clients internally and externally, to help with the development and execution of custom marketing and branding plans for their businesses. In so doing, he also guides them on key success components, such as having the proper motivation, infrastructure, communication and accountability.

5 replies on “Brian Otott, Superintendent for Paulding County School District Fires Back at TMZ”

This was . . . absolutely not taken out of context. Class changes at this HS are, in fact, this crowded. And by making mask wearing a “personal choice” because there is “no practical way” to enforce a mask mandate, you are consciously allowing a dangerous situation to occur.

I guarantee that if any of the girls in that hallway had a bra strap showing or a skirt 1/4” too short, the administration would totally find a “practical way” to enforce their dress code.

the superintendent needs to be fired from his position. it is shameful to suspend the kids who posted this photo. tt was wrong for the school to allow this situation to occur. the school hallways can not look like that! Why cant they mandate masks? and dont have everyone change classes at the same time…duh!
His letter in response is wrong headed and shows an astounding ignorance about the pandemic. this clown is not fit to srve our children and must be removed asap!

Shame on the school district for setting a poor example for its students in its actions. This school superintendent is afraid to take a true leadership role, admit mistakes, and take immediate corrective action to do the right thing.

I’m sorry, but this school disitrict’s handling of the re-opening is pathetic and so are Otott’s excuses. GA has over 3000 new cases every single day! Mask wearing as a personal choice?! What about a student’s or a family member’s personal choice to stay healthy and alive?
Taken out of context? The context is a highschool in GA in August 2020 – that’s all the context you need!
This is pure craziness, I call to Otott to resign today!

This scumbag super intendant needs to be FIRED immediately. Its clear that he couldnt give a shit about either the safety of his students or their fear and mental health. No, he trumps up a bunch of false charges against the brave CHILD who exposed his wrongdoing. Such a scumsucking coward. To go after a child like that and then intimidate and threaten the rest. Good job sponsoring independent thought you traitorous fascist.
Get this callous scum away from our children. Fire his disgusting ass now.

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