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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Faulty lighting system at Scarborough Sec

Fire officials replace circuit but students unhappy

Scarborough Secondary School -
Scarborough Secondary School -

The pungent burning scent that caused evacuation from Block A at the Scarborough Secondary School was caused by overheating of the light fixtures.

David Thomas, the PRO of the Tobago division, TT Fire Service, told Newsday on Tuesday an in-depth investigation revealed a failure of the electrical system for the fixtures, which led to the overheating.

In the investigation, all the fixtures were closely examined as well as the electric circuit.

After a report was made about the smell of smoke on the school compound on Friday, several checks were made and no fire was found. Thomas confirmed a strong smell of smoke was present but clearance was given for classes to resume. On Monday, teachers walked out classrooms as the scent still permeated the air.

On Tuesday, fire officers as well as officials from the division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE) and Education division were on-site. Remedial work to replace all the fixtures was expected to be completed on Wednesday.

Classes are expected to resume on Thursday.

“All the fixtures would be replaced because of the guarantee given by the service provider. A licensed electrician from DIQE was appointed to oversee the job to ensure quality delivery of service,” Thomas said.

He said fire officials will also place immediate attention on another area of the school.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the administrative block would receive some attention.”

Sixth form students at the Scarborough Secondary school, however, are taking a stand and called on the authorities to fix the unsafe conditions at the school.

The students will be protesting on Thursday at 11 am. They promised “drastic measures by the student body,” if the authorities fail to address their issues.

The students in a post on social media, through the school's Facebook page, called on parents, teachers and the student council to gather at the school for an emergency meeting on Saturday.

“Scarborough Secondary is unsafe and not conducive for learning. The situation can no longer be held off. It is a serious matter that needs to be taken up,” the post stated.

The students said they had pleaded with the (education) division to take action and their cries fell on deaf ears.

“How many children and workers shall fall through the breaking grounds at the back of the school? How many times will rain fall and flood the school? How many times will rain fall and the sprouting in the hall burst and spring water, causing a safety hazard? How many times will y'all promise a new school and we get nothing?”

TT Unified Teachers Association Tobago Officer Orlando Kerr told Newsday on Monday he had ordered his members not to return until a certificate of clearance is done. Kerr too said he had made several complaints about the issues and his efforts were unsuccessful.

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