Diego Girls’ RC in state of disrepair
By Rachael Espinet Friday, September 6 2013
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SCHOOL PROTEST: Students of Diego Martin Girls' RC protest the bad conditions at their school. Their parents are upset over closure of the school on t...
Several schools under the purview of the Catholic Education Board (CEB) are either not open, or in a serious state of disrepair. While parents have been calling for answers, no one has been able to give an explanation.
When Archbishop Joseph Harris was first contacted on the issue on Tuesday, he said he did not read the newspapers, and was not informed of the situation. He said he was receiving a report on the school issues on Thursday (yesterday), and would be better prepared to speak on the school problem.
When Newsday contacted the CEB directly, its CEO, Sharon Mangroo, said the CEB was not the body that speaks with the media. She instructed Newsday to contact either Monsignor Cuthbert Alexander, or Archbishop Harris.
When Newsday spoke with Harris yesterday, he said a media release was sent out, and he had nothing further to add. However, Alexander, informed Newsday there was no such release.
He said he will review the CEB report, and comment on the issue later.
Meanwhile, at Diego Martin Girls’ RC Primary School, there was a tumultuous parent-teacher meeting which turned into a protest yesterday, as disgruntled parents cried for their children to get a new school.
The parents wanted to know why their children’s school was in an unusable state, and why measures weren’t taken to deal with the school.
The meeting was held at Diego Martin Boys’ RC Primary School, which is adjacent to the Girls’ school, as their school hall was not fit for a meeting.
Rats, cats, bats, pigeons, termites and snakes were among the many problems that caused the parents of the Diego Martin Girls’ RC Primary School to take to the streets in protest.
Even the school’s principal fell victim to the faulty infrastructure of the school, as she slipped on the uneven grounds, and damaged her leg. Despite the Ministry of Education going on record that the school would open yesterday, parents were either told that school was closed the day before, or showed up with their daughters dressed for school, and were instructed to head over to the Boys’ school for an emergency PTA meeting.
“The parents are frustrated, and we have had enough. This is not an overnight issue; this is an aged school, and our children have to endure conditions that are not conducive to learning,” said Paul Emmons, who has two daughters attending the school.
In the streets, parents shouted that it made no sense to repair an old school that was more than 100 years old, and Emmons informed Newsday of the many problems the school had.
He called the school outdated, as it was merely two long hollow buildings with no computer laboratory, or library. There are nine classes in one building, and the only thing separating the classrooms are standing blackboards.
When asked how the children are able to concentrate in the school with other classes going on simultaneously, Emmons said, “The children learned to focus in class, but they could do better.”
Emmons further expressed concern for the safety of his daughters as the wall around the school’s compound was easily accessible.
“People can climb over the fence and do anything to our daughters. This is a girls’ school with only one guard, and there is not a proper toilet facility for her,” he said.