by Donna Sealy
Parents at St. Judes Primary School are up in arms over the physical conditions of the school on the eve of the 2013/14 school year.
And they are demanding answers from the Ministry of Education as to why earlier requests to have the school repaired were ignored and why students now have to be “disadvantaged” by being relocated to the nearby St. Jude’s Church Hall to facilitate repairs.
Barbados TODAY understands that fungus growing on the walls, termites, leaking roofs, rotting wooden floors, rodents including mice and frogs in class rooms, and raised floor tiles as a result of water damage, were among the concerns raised during an emergency meeting on Tuesday, called by PTA President, Debra Atwell.
“Parents are utterly disturbed that Minister of Education Ronald Jones can broadcast to the general public that schools are ready to reopen with a “bang” when the conditions at the St. George school are deplorable,” one parent said.
“[We want to know] why the horrible environmental conditions at the school are being ignored and the school is being superficially prepared by painting over fungii and other factors affecting the health of staff and students?
“[Why] the repairs could not have been done over the nine- week summer period and if the Nursery Department will be closed an extra week into the term, what are parents suppose to do?” the parent queried.
It is also understood that teachers have been on sick leave stemming from the conditions.
“Parents are not at all satisfied with the conditions at this St. George primary school,” the parent added.
An official from the Ministry of Education said that although the school was not on the list for the summer repair programme, it was scheduled to be fixed. That person said the officers were aware of the situation and would work to rectify it by Monday.
Yesterday, during a press conference President of the Barbados Union of Teachers, Pedro Shepherd, spoke about the physical conditions at another rural school which he said had “mushroom like things” growing out of the walls, paint was dropping from the ceiling and the bush around the school was two to four feet high.
He told Barbados TODAY he had visited Society Primary today to see the situation first hand. Both Shepherd and the education official said that the St. John school would be worked on over the weekend in an effort to have it ready for classes on Monday. (DS)