SEVENTEEN teachers and 370 students of the Debe Hindu School have a legitimate reason to stay at home today to rest and reflect.
These teachers do not have to fear the threat of fines or jail time from Education Minister Anthony Garcia if they heed the advice of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) to show solidarity with oil workers who are facing retrenchment.
That is because their school has been deemed unsafe and was closed on Thursday morning.
Debe Hindu’s indefinite closure followed a meeting between principal Usha Rampersad, parents of students and members of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) at the school yesterday to update them on the situation.
The PTA told the parents the school is old and dilapidated and has been plagued by infrastructural problems ranging from its ceiling, toilets and electrical system.The 6.9 earthquake on August 21 further weakened it, making it unsafe. When staff and students returned to school on Monday after the vacation, they discovered parts of the ceiling had become loose, posing a threat to occupants and also exposing bat droppings, which constitute a health hazard. Plumbing to the toilets and urinals was also dislocated. With the toilets out of commission, the principal called in the parents yesterday morning and received consensus it was unsafe for children to attend school Parents left with their children around noon.
The PTA said it is their understanding that the principal has been liaising with the Education Facilities Planning and Procurement Division (EFPD) as well as the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) and was told repairs will be given priority.