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Baltimore City principal fires back: "It just does not represent who we are"

A Baltimore City principal defends her school after she saw a recent FOX45 story featuring one of her own teachers, who said city kids are being forgotten. That principal sat down with Project Baltimore, FOX45’s long-term investigation into Baltimore-area schools.

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- A Baltimore City principal defends her school after she saw a recent FOX45 story featuring one of her own teachers, who said city kids are being forgotten.

That principal sat down with Project Baltimore, FOX45’s long-term investigation into Baltimore-area schools.

“I'm here, really to speak on behalf of our community, our staff, our students, to say we have a great school” says Omotayo Abiodun, Principal of Garrett Heights Elementary Middle School.

Abiodun has been the Garrett Heights principal for eight years. Her school has its struggles. Attendance is down and test scores are below the district average. The recent budget gap will force it to cut programs like basketball. Basic supplies, like paper and pencil, are so hard to come by that local churches and the PTA donate them.

Retired Garrett Heights teacher Christine Bryant told Project Baltimore that she witnessed some of the school’s challenges.

“We had roof leaks. Mice in the florescent lights,” Bryant says. “We are losing a whole generation of kids.”

When Abiodun heard Bryant’s allegations, she says she had to defend her school.

“It just does not represent who we are,” Abiodun says. “We have teachers, and we have staff and we have different types of personnel that do become frustrated, that's absolutely the truth, but you also have people who get over those frustrations and do what's best for kids every day.”

Abiodun told Project Baltimore that Garrett Heights is on the move. Right now, it’s applying for and receiving grants to become the district’s first full Montessori public school. It’s a heavy lift, but this principal believes it’s what’s best for the kids. Bryant says that notion is not the norm.

"I always told the administrators it was the students. I was there for the students,” Bryant says.

But when asked if she felt the administrators were there for the students, Bryant replies, “that's a rough question. No. I have to be honest."

Principal Abiodun says she understand why there is that perception, but says it’s not reality.

“We work through our breaks, we work through our weekends, just trying to support the vision of our schools,” Abiodun says. “I just want to say that we have worked extremely hard and that's not often shared, the negative information is shared, but you have got people who are committed to the city, committed to the children and the communities to make this work happen and so I think that's what I'm here to share.”

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