In other interviews with the author, students, teachers and other staff members mentioned the deteriorated state of the school buildings. Rodents had been seen on the third floor of the high school, and several different high school students mentioned seeing rodents on other floors during the school day. Swimming pools, on the first floors of both the elementary schools, were not in working condition and were filled with trash and unused school equipment.
Graphic 2: Photo of swimming pool at Highland Park’s Henry Ford Academy
All three of Highland Park’s school buildings had toilets that were caked with filth. In its lawsuit against the district, the American Civil Liberties Union noted that the school bathrooms were “not properly maintained, often smeared with feces, lack toilet paper and paper towels, and missing stall doors and other fixtures.”
Comments made by students and staff members in interviews were similar to the allegations made in the ACLU complaint regarding the state of school facilities prior to the district converting to a system of charter schools.