STUDENTS, teachers, parents and stakeholders at Scarborough Secondary School are adamant that they need a new school, as coastal erosion continues to threaten its very foundation.
In October, sixth-form students staged a protest at the entrance of the school, calling on the Tobago House of Assembly to address a litany of issues affecting them.
On Saturday, Newsday spoke with vice president of the school’s student council, Kayleigh Lewis, who said they have heard nothing positive to date.
“We have received no follow-up information after the protest…We’re still hoping that someone would call or at least have a meeting with us to further discuss the way forward,” she said.
President of Scarborough Secondary School alumni, Kevon McKenna said there is a sense of uncertainty currently.
“We have heard nothing besides what we saw on TV with the Prime Minister stating on Tobago channel 5 that the school has to move. Based on the letter that was sent, nothing has been done.
“We would have to ask for a stakeholders meeting to gather where we are and what’s the next step, in the best interest of the students, teachers and staff at Scarborough Secondary,” he said.
Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Tobago Officer, Orlando Kerr said there has been no formal meeting on the matter since.
“I know that things were being said in the public space about getting a piece of land to have the school relocated and so on, but I have not had any formal discussions at all with anybody about that.
“The teachers are calling for a new school… that is the ultimate solution – because the school is old, but work was done on the electrical and they also did some work on the roof recently. As they does say in Tobago, that is dead money because that building really needs to be moved, it should have been moved already,” he said.
When contacted, President of the school’s Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA) Ricardo Warner said while no parent was involved in the October protest, the parents felt and understood the frustration. He said although the process to acquire land for the school has commenced, the THA has committed to fixing existing problems at the school.
“The chief secretary would have said it in an interview that they are in the process of acquiring the lands. I can tell you from where I sit, a committee has been formed with all the relevant stakeholders; so that committee has been formed with the objective of the relocation of Scarborough Secondary school.
“There has been an agreement where ongoing works continues on the school as it relates to the electrical problem, that has been continuing and is ongoing and that’s where we at.”
Warner added: “I want it to be highlighted that it is time for Scarborough Secondary School to get a new home, so it's not that we are comfortable. We continue to advocate for our new school… we appreciate the process but the main thing that remains first and foremost is that we need a new school.”
During the October protest, the students chanted, “We want a new school” and, “Whey the THA?” while citing a number of health hazards that they say have gone unnoticed by the Division of Education, Innovation and Energy and Education Secretary Kelvin Charles.
One student told the media that light fixtures were collapsing and there were holes in the ceilings, rodents and dysfunctional air-condition units, as she asked for a safe space conducive to learning.
During the post-budget retreat press conference at Mt Irvine, Charles said a parcel of land had been identified and the division is in the evaluation process, though he could not say where.