Outspoken senior teacher at Combermere School Reverend Charles Morris is accusing the school’s administration of providing the Ministry of Education with “alternative facts” instead of admitting that the environmental concerns which forced the school’s closure last November have not been resolved.
Morris was responding to a press release issued by the Minister of Education Ronald Jones last Friday, in which he denied reports that students were falling ill since the learning institution at Waterford, St Michael reopened earlier this month.
On the contrary, Jones said, the records showed no student left early due to illness, and there was no evidence of a recurrence of the environmental problems that have plagued the school.
“The reports of students leaving the school relate to dental appointments, and other personal issues. In addition, with the exception of one teacher who is on sick leave and another who did not report to work yesterday, there was no record of staff being away from Combermere.
“There is no indication of a recurrence of environmental problems at Combermere School,” the minister said.
However, Morris argued that nothing could be further from the truth and beseeched to the school’s administration to come clean about the current state of affairs.
“I am not going to blame the minister because he can only go by what information is said to him. But the administration of the school needs to deal with this issue honestly and tell the parents about it. It does not make sense hiding.
“Students are going home sick. There is no two ways about that. I am there and I see it. I know that the principal sent around asking for the details of those who were sick but a lot of students who were sick in the past three weeks would not have signed that because a lot of them were home. So that is pure foolishness because students went home sick the whole week,” Morris said.
Barbados TODAY understands environmental experts were back at the school on Saturday conducting further remedial work.
However, Morris is questioning why this was done if complaints of a recurrence were baseless.
“If you are saying that everything is okay and that the school is good then why, as I speak to you, are people at the school trying to get this matter straightened out? These sets of complaints were not done by the teachers but by the students who complained that they were getting these foul smells again.
“I myself was in the history room and got some but I did not abandon the school and go home. The students in the history room where I teach complained and right beside me I saw a student getting sick along the corridor. My question is why are they still there? Even the environmental team when they were touring the school [during an inspection on January 10] reported that they were still getting some of the smell. They put in new bathrooms but the students cannot use the bathrooms because scents are coming from it even though students haven’t used it,” he added.
In a startling revelation yesterday during a joint meeting of the Democratic Labour Party’s Christ Church West and East Central branches at the Arthur Smith Primary School, Jones said people were making deliberate attempts to sabotage the school and he had photographic evidence to prove it.
Morris queried why police were not called in to investigate these troubling allegations, as this was the second time the claim of sabotage had been made.
“These are stupid theories which cannot be verified. It has been theory after theory. Just last week we were told it was the stench from the horse stables out in Waterford, now this thing of sabotage resurfaces. Have you investigated sabotage? Why haven’t they called in the police?”