Sunset Senior High Principal Leaves Amid “Deplorable” School Condition Allegations

The principal of Sunset Senior High School in Miami-Dade County will be retiring early amid allegations the school's physical conditions were deteriorating.

Students and former students at Miami Sunset Senior High School took to social media last week to try to bring attention to what some have called “deplorable” conditions at the school.

Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho released a statement late Wednesday evening.

"Recognizing the best interests of Miami Sunset Senior High School, its students, faculty, and community and standing firmly on the high standards expected at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, today we accepted the early retirement of Dr. Lucia Cox. Restoring Sunset Senior to its optimal teaching environment is of paramount importance," Carvalho said.

Pictures of mold in fruit punch, video and pictures of water that students say ranges in color from gray to yellow, and other health hazards have popped up on social media in recent weeks. Former student Angie Garcia said she saw a number of unsanitary things at the school when she started in 2006.

“It was just deplorable,” Garcia said. “It was really dirty, the food was bad.”

Another area students said was a health hazard was the bathrooms at the school. Photos of mold creeping up the walls and a cockroach on the floor are floating around online. All of the problems the students cite are why Angie said she finished school at another school.

“When I’m in school I expect to be taken care of,” Angie said. “I expect to be protected by the staff and by the faculty and they did none of that. I’m not sure what their interests are, but it’s certainly not us.”

A Miami Dade County Schools region superintendent says an inspection in early January found the school was not properly clean. Since then, the department said they've taken action.

"It's not acceptable. It's not,” said Miami-Dade Schools regional superintendent Barbara Mendizabal. “And we have been very proactive from the moment we received the first concern we have been very active in deploying teams of people and personnel to help us in cleaning the building and bringing it up to the standards that the school deserves."

A temporary leader will be assigned to the high school until a new principal is appointed at the next school board meeting, according to Superintendent Carvalho.

Sunset Senior High is located at 13125 Southwest 72nd Street in Miami.

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