Parents of students at Lawrence T Gay Memorial Elementary School have staged another protest as they desperately cry out for the attention of education and health officials over what they describe as serious environmental issues at the site.
Standing outside the school factory this morning, holding signs with strong messages, the parents, some of whom were accompanied by their children, said that in light of students and teachers falling ill, allegedly due to environmental factors, it is time for the authorities to take control of the situation.
Environmental issues at Spooner’s Hill, St. Michael’s have been a concern for several years, which led to an EA report being carried out, in addition to the relocation of students and teachers for some time.
The school’s Parents’ Association (PTA) president, Stephanie Williams, said another protest was being organized to attract the attention of the Department of Labor and the Department of Health.
Williams said parents worried about their children’s health are fed up with constantly having to leave work to recoup school fees when they fall ill.
“We are not going to tell them how to do their job, but we are asking them to come and look at the situation. It was pointed out in the environmental report that there were external issues and I think it would be properties surrounding the school, and that was not addressed. We didn’t see anyone, we didn’t hear anything, so we would like them to come out and take care of this, ”said Williams.
Williams also informed the media that around 25 students have been transferred since the start of the new school year, while 21 teachers were absent in week six and a teacher from grade four was also transferred.
She said she was also concerned that the case had significantly affected students in Class 4 who are said to be preparing for next year’s 11 Plus exam, but appear be late in the program.
“The teacher who was going to teach class 4 had to be transferred because she was sick from the start and it is just unfair. It seems that Lawrence T Gay has been forgotten. We need more results. We have to fix the problem, ”Williams said.
“We would like our voices to be heard because we are not just here because we want to be here. Saturday is a day when we can do a lot of things like going to the beach, taking the kids to the different lessons they should attend, but we choose to be here because the situation is dire and we need intervention She added.
Sandra Herbert, who has a grandchild and two nieces at Lawrence T Gay, complained that her grandson was sleeping, vomiting and suffering from allergic reactions, due to environmental issues.
“When my grandson comes home at night his eyes are cherry red with all the different allergies and we have to spend money all the time to take him to a doctor. Every day my niece has a headache, so now her mom has been keeping her at home after school for over two weeks.
“I want something to be done and not wait for one of our two children to die or for one or two of our teachers to die.” We are human beings and right now we are not receiving treatment as if we are human beings, we are being treated as if we are animals, ”said Herbert.
Enlou Frere, who is the mother of two dating Lawrence T Gay, said her children complained of stomach aches, chest pain and a daughter suffered from migraines.
Frere, who said she kept her children at home because they were not feeling well, said she could not understand why the school had reopened if the matter was not fully rectified .
“The teachers are still sick, the children are transferred. Other than getting to the bottom of this problem, our kids need more time, our kids are late, our kids aren’t even up to date with the program and no one is taking care of them, we want the ministry to ‘Education is taking care of it now because our kids are not prepared for 11 Plus; they are late and we need more time, ”said Frere.
When contacted, Barbados Teachers Union (BUT) President Pedro Shepherd confirmed that the union was aware that a teacher had been transferred from Lawrence T Gay, as the number of transferred students is currently 25. Shepherd said just last week he held a meeting with frustrated teachers at Lawrence T Gay to discuss the matter.
“We know that a teacher has been transferred and that the number of transferred students is now 25. We would have met teachers a few times, as late as Monday, we met virtually, and we immediately prepared the communication to be sent to the Ministry We received a response saying that the Ministry would meet with the technical officials next week.
“But in the meantime, teachers and parents remain concerned about the findings of the REA Envirohealth report. We are at the stage where we want the Ministry of Education to insist that the Ministries of Health and Labor do what they are supposed to do in relation to the REA report, which is to go into the process. community and find out what needs to be completed. But the school cannot continue in the current location with these environmental issues, ”Shepherd said.
Barbados TODAY efforts to contact officials from the Ministry of Education were unsuccessful. (Ah)