MANY pupils of Pleasantville Secondary School were left without teacher supervision yesterday after the majority of the staff stayed away to protest unsatisfactory work and personal safety issues affecting both teachers and pupils.
More than 75 per cent of the teaching staff decided not to attend classes.
A representative from the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) said work on the school’s infrastructure had ceased since 2010, leaving several abandoned buildings, broken lighting fixtures and areas of the school barred with galvanise metal partitions.
The representative said there were also areas overgrown with bushes, and covered with debris. The union official said in some of the makeshift classrooms, children sometimes found snakes and rats.
He said the teachers are also concerned for their safety because of the illegal gambling on the compound by outsiders and school gangs identifying themselves as the ‘Crips’ and the ‘Bloods’.
The official said nothing was done over the two-month vacation period and teachers decided to remain in the staff room until they get some answers.
The school has a population of approximately 500 pupils.
The school’s Parent Teachers Association has been told that work on the school will resume in February 2014.
Media coordinator in the Ministry of Education Yolanda Morales-Carvalho said the ministry was informed by Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) that the issues they found at the school, were completely different to the initial complaints.
She said EFCL visited the school and based on priority and the list of the four critical items — roofing, ceiling, plumbing and electrical — the situation will now be addressed as an emergency.
Morales-Carvalho said based on the discipline issues at the school, student support services officers will intervene where necessary.
She said the ministry was currently working on 202 school repairs projects.