Based on the advice of their union, teachers of the Dunnottar School staged a sick-out today to protest the deplorable conditions under which they are forced to work.
Parents told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that when they turned up with their children at the school this morning, the teachers refused to go the classrooms and they had no choice but to take their children back home.
One parent, Mandy Charles, wrote SNO Tuesday afternoon expressing her disappointment and said the school is not conducive to learning and the teachers plan to protest until the issue is fixed.
“The teachers are out of the school without the special needs students being supervised, they say that they are not going to work under these conditions,” she explained.
According to her, it was revealed at a meeting on Monday with the head mistress, that the school is in a state of disrepair and despite efforts to get the issues fixed, this has proven unsuccessful.
SNO understands that the school, which is located at La Pansee Road, Castries, is infested with rats. It also leaks when it rains, the sewerage also leaks and the building has mold.
Parents are now convinced that these are the reasons why their children have been falling ill frequently and are urging the authorities to do something most immediately to address the situation.
Charles said the principal told parents that she approached the Ministry of Education for assistance who said that they are not in any way responsible for the school.
But Chief Education Officer, Marcus Edward, told SNO that the issue is a subject of ongoing discussion between the Ministry of Education, the teachers, the Board of Management and the Teachers’ Union.
“As late as last week Friday, there was a meeting of those four parties on this matter,” he stated.
Edward said it was agreed that the board and management of the school, would commence some works and should report to the permanent secretary of the Education Ministry on the progress made by Wednesday.
The school currently has a student population of about 80 with varying disabilities. Students range in age from five to 25.