Parents lock teachers, pupils out of school

2016-04-20 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Teachers at Woodlands Primary School were taken by surprise when parents locked them out of the school in protest of the dilapidated asbestos school building.

PHOTO: supplied Teachers at Woodlands Primary School were taken by surprise when parents locked them out of the school in protest of the dilapidated asbestos school building.

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LAST Thursday teachers at Woodlands Primary School arrived for duty and found the gates locked by pupils’ parents who took action against the school asking government to rebuild it as it is in a state of dilapidation.

The school, which was built out of asbestos over 40 years ago, is a haven for medical issues and has been on the receiving end of theft and robberies over recent years.

According to the World Health Organisation all types of asbestos can cause lung, larynx and ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

“Exposure to asbestos occurs through inhalation of fibres in air in the working environment, ambient air in the vicinity of point sources such as factories handling asbestos, or indoor air in housing and buildings containing friable [crumbly] asbestos materials,” states the WHO website.

“Most prior principals have addressed this concern and every time we’ve been told we are on the list [of a new school], but other new schools are being built. The school is not healthy for our children to go to, but because we can’t afford other schools, we have to send them there knowing their health is being affected,” said Merise Nobin whose children go to the school.

She said there is broken asbestos around the school which is very dangerous as people who work with this product have to use special gear.

“The government needs to rebuild Woodlands Primary School now - not next year.

“We are taxpayers and it is our children’s right to go to a school that is safe. It’s so upsetting because it’s [parents’ pleas] falling on deaf ears.

“The teachers and principal are so committed to the school, they risk their own health for the benefit of our children,” said Nobin.

Former pupils and the public have been active on social media stating their disgust and disappointment of the condition of the school.

Michelle Minnie

I don’t blame the parents that school has been that way for years.

Merle Clayton-Williams

The Department of Health needs to be called in. How can our learners and educators use such a facility. Asbestos is extremely dangerous and most of the educators suffer with chronic illness, probably due to the asbestos...# Woodlands Primarymustfall.

Angie du Toit

As frustrating as it was to arrive at a locked school at 07:45 (with children outside) I do fully understand why this was done. The various Departments need to step up and become involved in rebuilding the school ASAP!!!! #Woodlandsmustfall

Benjy Van Der Byl

It needed rebuilt in 1985 when I was there. Why don’t you come together and use resources that you have?? Labour? I’m sure there are trades men who can help build? Put together a proposal to the education board asking for supplies if you can supply labour!

South Africa is dying at the hands of the government. Let’s stop complaining and take action.

Mark Frankis

It’s about time the school got some attention from government since we have people who are part of Government but do nothing at all when it comes to our people its all about themselves and their families the rest must see their own thing.

Valencia Roberts

It’s really disturbing to hear. Went to this primary school as well and believe that as a community if we all work together it can be done. Government has continually failed these kids. Let the community come together and make a change

Elimination of asbestos-related diseases should take place through the following public health actions:

• recognising that the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos;

• replacing asbestos with safer substitutes and developing economic and technological mechanisms to stimulate its replacement;

• taking measures to prevent exposure to asbestos in place and during asbestos removal (abatement); and

• improving early diagnosis, treatment, social and medical rehabilitation of asbestos-related diseases and establishing registries of people with past and/or current exposures to asbestos. – World Health Organisation

Signs and symptoms of asbestosis include:

• shortness of breath is the primary symptom;

• persistent and productive cough (a cough that expels mucus);

• chest tightness;

• chest pain;

• loss of appetite; and

• dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

‘We are taxpayers and it is our children’s rights to go to a school that is safe. It’s so upsetting

because it’s [parents’ pleas] falling on deaf ears’

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