Categorized | National News

BUT Wants Schools Condemned

Even after shutting down operations at both the Stephen Dillet and Uriah McPhee Primary Schools for much needed repairs and cleaning, teachers at both campuses held another round of sit-ins Tuesday, still protesting unhealthy and deplorable working conditions.

In fact, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said she believes both building have run their courses and should be condemned.

“I really believe that both Uriah and Stephen have worked their course,” she said. “The schools need to be looked at closely and be condemned.

“The government needs to do what it has to do fiscally so that funds can be allocated. Even if they build just one big school where you can amalgamate both schools, but these just aren’t working. There have been times we had sit-ins we just didn’t make it public, but there comes a time when you have to bring your concerns to the public.”

When reporters arrived on the scene a number of teachers were sitting outside reading newspapers and talking while others were said to be sitting around on the inside awaiting word from their leader.

Workmen were also seen screwing, pumping and sawing away at a faulty air conditioning unit that has been a major problem over the past few weeks.

But Mrs. Wilson said until this and other issues are fixed, teachers will not report to work.

“They’re saying to the teachers to go in to the school and teach but they will not be teaching,” she said. “The AC technicians are still working, the vents are still filthy, the air is still thick and on top of that there’s no water in the school.

“How can they teach and how can students learn if the environment isn’t conducive. For God’s sake, parents, come see about your kids. It’s always as if the union is in battle with the ministry, your children are in here also.”

In addition to having the students and teachers re-enter the campuses that still were not up to par, Mrs. Wilson said ministry officials did not inform her that these schools were set to open Tuesday.

The two campuses were closed late last week due to mold, poor ventilation and even rodent problems.

The issues were said to be dealt with over the weekend but Mrs. Wilson said for problems that were allowed to fester for so long, workers need more than a few days to rectify these issues.

“The problems exist now and they have existed for many years,” she added. “More recently these problems have been articulated and the principals are aware. Uriah McPhee alone has had about five or six sit-ins over the past year alone and all because the air condition wasn’t working.”

The BUT president said more issues are festering at the Naomi Blatch Primary School on John Road where major construction works are still ongoing.

She said the school is scheduled to open Thursday but she doubts that will happen based on the amount of work still to be done.

Mrs. Wilson said the union has not even received a status report since these were first raised, highlighting the problems found and how long it will take to correct them.

Until issues are resolved at all schools she said teachers will remain at home.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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