A CMS teacher wrote about roaches in her classroom. Here's what the county found.

A CMS teacher wrote about roaches in her classroom. Here's what the county found.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department found multiple issues at North Mecklenburg High School a few days after a teacher there complained about roaches and other concerns in her classroom. Google Maps image

CHARLOTTE NC (LaVendrick Smith/Charlotte Observer) - It wasn't the first time Jana Johnson vented about the conditions at North Mecklenburg High, the school where she teaches social studies to freshmen and seniors.

But when Johnson posted photos last week of her classroom's moldy pipes, rodent poop and a bottle of insecticide she uses to keep roaches at bay, the pictures quickly spread through social media.

"If you look up you see black mold, if you look down you see asbestos insulation coming out of the wall," Johnson wrote in her post, which has been shared nearly 2,000 times.

She uploaded the photos the day after she joined thousands of other teachers in the state in Raleigh to rally for higher teacher pay and increased state funding for education. The rally was the largest organized political action by teachers in the state's history, and led to at least 42 school districts closing for the day.

Johnson's optimism from the march quickly turned to disappointment when she returned to the school the next day, and pieces of her classroom's ceiling were falling into one of her students' hair, she said. She turned to Facebook to document her class' list of issues, including bugs, rodents and broken air conditioning.

"I've said the same thing 5,000 times and no one had listened," she said. "And this time, it just struck the right chord on the right day."

Many of the issues Johnson documented were confirmed Monday, when the school was inspected by the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

North Mecklenburg was cited for having both live and dead roaches, rodent feces, poor locker room conditions, among other issues. The school received a score of 75.5 out of the 100 from the department.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokesperson Brian Hacker told the Observer the district is reviewing the inspection report, and plans to address the concerns.

"CMS is aware of the recent health and safety inspection at North Mecklenburg High School. The district and school staff are responding first to the conditions described and will review cleaning and maintenance procedures to ensure focus remains on teaching and learning at North Meck," Hacker said in a statement.

Johnson, who has taught at the school for three years, wasn't surprised by the report, and said she has fielded complaints from other teachers in the district dealing with similar concerns at their schools.

Plenty of attention was given toward teacher salaries in last week's rallies, but the condition of learning facilities shouldn't go unnoticed, she said.

"Schools are really struggling, not just underneath the burden of over-testing and overworked teachers, but they're struggling with underfunded, aged buildings that need to be remodeled or rebuilt," she said.