Parents demand answers

James
James McLeod
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Board scrambling to place St. George's students

About 300 parents gathered in the Villanova Junior High School in C.B.S. Tuesday night to hear the Eastern School District's plan for students displaced from St. George's Elementary after mould was found in the building.

Eastern School District CEO Darrin Pike and school council chairman Tony Noonan explained the plan: starting Monday, kindergarten to Grade 2 would be temporarily housed in All Saints Parish Hall in Foxtrap, Grade 3 students would go to Topsail Elementary and Grades 4 to 6 would be bused to St. Matthew's Elementary in St. John's.

Concerned parents have their questions answered by Darren Pike, CEO and director of education for Eastern School District, at a meeting at Villa Nova Junior High School Tuesday night regarding the closure of St. George's Elementary and the re-location of

About 300 parents gathered in the Villanova Junior High School in C.B.S. Tuesday night to hear the Eastern School District's plan for students displaced from St. George's Elementary after mould was found in the building.

Eastern School District CEO Darrin Pike and school council chairman Tony Noonan explained the plan: starting Monday, kindergarten to Grade 2 would be temporarily housed in All Saints Parish Hall in Foxtrap, Grade 3 students would go to Topsail Elementary and Grades 4 to 6 would be bused to St. Matthew's Elementary in St. John's.

What followed the presentation was close to three hours of questions from parents, some of whom were extremely angry about the plan.

Parents raised issues from seatbelt and supervision issues around busing, to why the renovations that discovered the mould in St. George's Elementary hadn't been started until August.

"Everybody has a lot of frustrations, and there's a lot of emotions running through," said Peter Austin, a parent at the meeting. "It's a major inconvenience and upset for an awful lot of parents."

Austin said that one of his major concerns was children being bused into the capital city with only the bus driver for supervision.

Sandra Murphy, with a son in Grade 5, voiced similar concerns.

"I have huge issues with busing concerns," she said. "Not only the fact that there's no adults on the bus, but also there's no seatbelts on the bus.

Murphy said that she might choose not to take part in the plan.

"He said, 'Mommy I want to go to your school,' he does not want to go out there," she said. "He wants to go to my school, so I'm very seriously considering homeschooling him."

The problem with St. George's emerged when renovations in August uncovered breaks in the vapour barrier around windows, and toxic mould in some of the walls.

The province has hired an outside consultant to help clean up the school, and has told parents that the school will likely be closed until December. In his presentation, Pike said that the Eastern School District's approach to mould at St. George's was, "When in doubt, tear it out."

Many parents said that a large part of their anger came from the fact that the mould could have been there for years, and the renovations weren't started until August, leaving the school scrambling.

"It sounds like we're always reacting when it comes to the school board," said Jamie Sheehan. "We need more funding to get to a proactive stage so we can get preventative maintenance programs up and running."

Pike said that they expected some controversy over the plan.

"We sort of knew going in that whatever plan we proposed would negatively affect one group of parents or another," he said. "I think that the consultation we had with the school council and the conclusion they came to was still the best solution."

Noonan said that the hardest decision the council had to make was shipping students to St. John's, but other solutions would have been more disruptive. He encouraged parents with questions to call the Eastern School District at 757-4634 or go on their website at www.esdnl.ca. Noonan said that the council was doing everything it could to make sure things went smoothly.

Similar issues in C.B.S. were uncovered at Frank Roberts Junior High. an information session about that will be held Thursday evening at Queen Elizabeth High School at 7:30 p.m.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Villanova Junior High School, Queen Elizabeth High School

Geographic location: St. George's, C.B.S., St. John's Foxtrap

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Recent comments

  • greg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Dear Tory- Betty from ( God Forgive me) Mt. Pearl. This is not the first school mould story to occur under either Tory or Liberal administrations. Whats different here is the school board knew about the TOXIC mould and opened the school to the little children anyway. Thats the story, its not about Clyde Wells. Opening the school endangered the health of children.The current provincial government puts little stock in the health of its citizens, old and young alike. If it was my little Brittany or Brianna I would look at a legal action against the Board. Bon apetite!

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I guess Dannys ABC garbage has a new meaning these days Anyone But Children. At least his Government is consistant we are now becoming the WORST in everything from Health Care all the way down to the air we breathe in some of our schools and the water we drink. All very basis needs but it seems Williams is more dedicated to his ABC campaign than he is to the people who elected him.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    300 gather to complain about the mouldy school. According to the latest stats over 210 of them think their premier is the best thing since sliced bread. So, enjoy the mould, trips to Halifax for medical services, shortage of nurses, doctors and boil orders. You aked for it......stop complaining!

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    While the premier seems to be obsessed with ABC, the province's infrastructure is crumbling, with seemingly little being done about it. Whether it's air quality problems at schools, threatened departure by gynecological oncologists, or botched hormone receptor testing, these are all verious serious issues which merit immediate, sharp focus from govt. ABC should be the least of our govt's worries at present.

  • Betty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Yes, things are bad.... but Danny is well on the way to being the solution to problems created by past idiots// its ABC alright (ALL BECAUSE of CLYDE).
    Before you get upset with the current school system, check to see what you voted during the school referendum in the 90's -- back then, instead of focusing on improving what was actually working voters facilitated Clyde Wells' great plan to end a parents involvment in their childrens education /// he wanted government to control all aspects of it and WELL -- here you are!

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Betty from Mt. Pearl Wake up and get with the real world. Yes we were in a mess before thats why elected the Williams Government. Now however we have gone from bad to worse. Who would you like to blame for that? Watch listen to and read the news Betty. This Province is in a mess but ABC Williams is more focused on his grudge with Manning and Harper than he is anything else. Thats probably the fault of previous Governments too is it Betty? Stay healthy Betty because our Health Care System is also the worst in the country and it has gotten that way in the past 5 years long after Clyde Wells and Roger Grimes started to collect their big fat Government Pensions. You do think like Danny does Betty....Everything else is someone elses fault. ABC does however describe Danny Williams ...A Bit Childish.

  • Eli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Darren Pike & Tony Noonan should be given the boot. They knew there was a problem there since last February & did nothing. Bet they didn't forget to pick up their checks over the summer.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Phoebe: Paradise has been slated to get 2 new schools. I'm sure you remember the announcement back in Nov since you pay so much attention to government. Comments? That's Danny's fault too ya know, lol.

  • greg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Dear Tory- Betty from ( God Forgive me) Mt. Pearl. This is not the first school mould story to occur under either Tory or Liberal administrations. Whats different here is the school board knew about the TOXIC mould and opened the school to the little children anyway. Thats the story, its not about Clyde Wells. Opening the school endangered the health of children.The current provincial government puts little stock in the health of its citizens, old and young alike. If it was my little Brittany or Brianna I would look at a legal action against the Board. Bon apetite!

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I guess Dannys ABC garbage has a new meaning these days Anyone But Children. At least his Government is consistant we are now becoming the WORST in everything from Health Care all the way down to the air we breathe in some of our schools and the water we drink. All very basis needs but it seems Williams is more dedicated to his ABC campaign than he is to the people who elected him.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    300 gather to complain about the mouldy school. According to the latest stats over 210 of them think their premier is the best thing since sliced bread. So, enjoy the mould, trips to Halifax for medical services, shortage of nurses, doctors and boil orders. You aked for it......stop complaining!

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    While the premier seems to be obsessed with ABC, the province's infrastructure is crumbling, with seemingly little being done about it. Whether it's air quality problems at schools, threatened departure by gynecological oncologists, or botched hormone receptor testing, these are all verious serious issues which merit immediate, sharp focus from govt. ABC should be the least of our govt's worries at present.

  • Betty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Yes, things are bad.... but Danny is well on the way to being the solution to problems created by past idiots// its ABC alright (ALL BECAUSE of CLYDE).
    Before you get upset with the current school system, check to see what you voted during the school referendum in the 90's -- back then, instead of focusing on improving what was actually working voters facilitated Clyde Wells' great plan to end a parents involvment in their childrens education /// he wanted government to control all aspects of it and WELL -- here you are!

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Betty from Mt. Pearl Wake up and get with the real world. Yes we were in a mess before thats why elected the Williams Government. Now however we have gone from bad to worse. Who would you like to blame for that? Watch listen to and read the news Betty. This Province is in a mess but ABC Williams is more focused on his grudge with Manning and Harper than he is anything else. Thats probably the fault of previous Governments too is it Betty? Stay healthy Betty because our Health Care System is also the worst in the country and it has gotten that way in the past 5 years long after Clyde Wells and Roger Grimes started to collect their big fat Government Pensions. You do think like Danny does Betty....Everything else is someone elses fault. ABC does however describe Danny Williams ...A Bit Childish.

  • Eli
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Darren Pike & Tony Noonan should be given the boot. They knew there was a problem there since last February & did nothing. Bet they didn't forget to pick up their checks over the summer.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Phoebe: Paradise has been slated to get 2 new schools. I'm sure you remember the announcement back in Nov since you pay so much attention to government. Comments? That's Danny's fault too ya know, lol.