Brighton AC parents take children out of school

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

This mother leaves the Brighton Anglican School, La Brea with her daughter after the standard three children were being housed in a building on the school’s compound which is not suitable for anyone to be in. – AYANNA KINSALE

SOME parents of students of a Standard Three class at the Brighton AC Primary School decided on Monday to take their children back home, after deciding the area where they were being accommodated on the school premises was unsuitable.

Cindy Trim related the concern of these parents to the media. She had no problem with return of in-person schooling with the start of the new term on April 19.

“That is not the issue.”

Trim said she received a call from school staff to bring her ten-year-old daughter Cassia Joseph out to classes on Monday.

Trim found the area where her daughter and her Standard Three classmates would be placed unsatisfactory. She claimed the walls were mouldy.

“The space was not prepared, because the building was recently painted.”

She said parents were told the area needed to be aired out and would be ready later in the week for their children to occupy it.

Trim was concerned that mould spores could return, even if the area was painted, and this could affect children who suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma. She said a pungent scent was coming from the area as well.

Parents and students stand outside the condemned building which housed standard three students at the Brighton Anglican School in La Brea. – AYANNA KINSALE

“Clearly it is not feasible for my child or anybody else’s child to be housed in that area.”

Trim said the school’s principal acknowledged her concerns.

“The principal is doing his best and we understand that.”

She said at least nine other parents who have children in her daughter’s class chose to take them out of school as well. Trim estimated that the class has a little over 20 students.

“I will be keeping my daughter home.”

She could not say what other parents would decide to do about their children attending the school physically.

The main school building was condemned some time ago, she said, and other classes were being held in different parts of the compound. She described those areas as suitable for students as she reiterated her concerns for where her daughter and her classmates would be housed.

Trim appealed to the relevant authorities to help and suggested the affected students could be temporarily accommodated in a nearby community centre.

As Trim was being interviewed, a man who identified himself as the principal said he would be willing to speak with the media afterwards. He did not give his name and went back into a building at the rear of the compound.

Other parents arrived at the school to drop off their children while this was happening. Some parents, who, like Trim, decided to take their children home, declined to speak with the media

A security guard later told the media the principal was unavailable to give any interviews and asked them to leave. The media complied.

The school’s gates were closed shortly afterwards and only opened to allow other people to enter and leave the grounds.