Teachers protest conditions at schools
NASSAU — Teachers at Uriah McPhee and Stephen Dillet Primary Schools staged sit-ins yesterday, much to the dismay of some parents who had to collect their children early.
It is the latest move by the Bahamas Union of Teachers to bring resolution to several health concerns at those schools, namely, mold and rodent and termite infestation, according to BUT President Belinda Wilson.
“The rats and the rodents have infested the school (Stephen Dillet) and there is faeces and urine,” Wilson said outside the Department of Labour. “As you walk into the school the stench greets you. Both schools have termites and mold.
“To compound that problem they went in and painted some parts of the interior of the school on Tuesday.”
Wilson said the union couldn’t subject teachers and students to work in classrooms with those concerns present, especially when paint fumes cannot be properly ventilated out of many classrooms.
Around 100 students remained on campus at Uriah‚McPhee and were supervised by administrators, according to an official at the school.
Several frustrated parents pulled their children out of both schools after learning about the sit-ins.
Amid rising tensions with the union, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, who was out of the country, said the ministry will do everything in its power to address teachers’ concerns.
He admitted the rat infestation has been a challenge, but said steps are being taken to address that issue.
He said ventilation has also been a challenge because of the design of both schools and said the government plans to buy new air conditioning units to replace malfunctioning ones.
The Nassau Guardian was not permitted on the campuses of either school. (Nassau Guardian)