Crisis at Friendship Secondary School
– snake and bat infestations, lack of proper furniture among woes
With one more day left before the start of another school year, some schools are not in any condition to continue classes much less accept new students, since it may prove to be more dangerous than beneficial for children.
Reports are that the Friendship Secondary School, located on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), is presently snake-infested due to the overgrown bushes and grass in the school’s compound.
Over the past two months, eight snakes of various sizes have been killed in the compound, either by contractors who are currently renovating some parts of the school, or by teachers.
When Kaieteur News visited the school on Friday, last, parents of the new first-year students had just finished their orientation ceremony.
The pathway leading from the various offices and classrooms was covered with tall shrubs while garbage was being burnt in the school compound. The teachers’ staffroom had broken windows and pieces of wood nailed over sections to cover the spaces.
Some of the parents who are very concerned as it related to the safety of their children spoke out.
“My son will be coming here from this term and this place don’t even look safe at all. The fence at the back cover with grass and bush, and this place got snakes. I don’t live far from here and you know how much other parents talking about it being unsafe here. But what we going to do? We children get this school so we got to send them. Dem don’t have proper furniture or enough to use anyhow,” complained the boy’s mother.
This newspaper was made to understand that the school’s auditorium cannot facilitate the entire student population during assemblies and as a result the assemblies would take place in the compound.
This will prove an additional problem in the following school term since grass has taken over the sections which were previously used to host general assemblies and physical education classes.
A father of two children who will be attending the Friendship Secondary School as of this term, expressed his dissatisfaction with the school environment.
“They got a chicken farm behind here that smelling awful much less when the breeze blow in this direction. Garbage been here over a month and only today (Friday) the teachers trying to help somehow and burn them out. The drains need cleaning. The washroom ain’t have any running water since last term so you can imagine what going on in there”
Kaieteur News observed that the female washrooms were in an appalling state while the male washrooms were worse. There was no running water, sinks were broken off and lying on the floor, the floors were badly damaged and tiles were broken. A terrible stench was being emitted from all of the washrooms.
It was also disclosed that the Allied Arts Building, which can only be accessed by trekking through the overgrown bushes, contains the Technical Drawing and Science labs, which are not even properly equipped.
Accessing the building is dangerous for students and teachers since snakes could venture out at any point in time while they were passing through.
Another parent pointed out that the school also has “special needs students” and therefore should be better equipped and in good condition to facilitate such students.
“The school only has one standpipe where water is coming on and off. There should be a water trough here. Some children have special needs and require better care and facilities which could accommodate them. Here children are getting rashes. Bats are living along the stairways. There are exposed wires that can threaten the lives of children, and nobody doing anything. Is this what schools coming to now?”