The parents and teachers of Nismes Primary School are calling on the relevant authorities to fill a huge pond that is in front of the school and to also maintain the yard/playfield that is in a deplorable state.
It was explained that the school premises formerly housed a community high school, which had an agricultural department and a fish pond. Some time ago, the community high school was phased out, but the unused fish pond remained and subsequently became covered with overgrowth.
With the primary school now occupying the premises there is the fear of danger to the smaller children. All children are forbidden to go near the pond.
One teacher said that they have to always be alert since the school compound is full of bush and students play in it; she also fears that there might be snakes and other dangerous animals in the bushes.
About a week ago, after a series of reports to the regional authorities, the pond was dredged, but teachers said it now poses a much greater risk to the safety of the students as well as them, because the pond has caimans that can crawl out and camouflage themselves in the yard and attack them.
When Stabroek News contacted the Office of the Regional Education Officer of Region 3 the reporter was told that no complaints were received from the school. However, the officer to whom this newspaper spoke was aware that the pond had been dredged.
One concerned parent, a Mrs Springer said: “The ‘alligator’ pond is very close to the toilet and they can crawl out and go into the toilet and bite the children.”
She further lamented, “They dredge the pond but it is still dangerous. Children go and play there and might fall into it. The only solution is they have to full the pond.”
She stressed that the school made several reports to the Ministry of Education as recent as Tuesday but to date no action had been taken to ease their worries.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand when contacted said she was not aware of the situation but promised to look into it and get back to Stabroek News. Later attempts to contact her proved futile.
Meanwhile, as a result of the pond being dredged, pipes were broken so there is now no water supply to the school, in addition to which, the yard is being flooded by the broken pipes.
The school feeding program is being hindered because of the shortage of water. Meals are not being prepared and the teachers have to ask parents to donate water to prepare the meals for the students.
When asked if anyone had been hurt at the pond the teacher said that about two weeks ago a student was lashed by a caiman’s tail resulting in him sustaining injuries.
Mrs Springer noted that if the children are injured, it’s the parent’s responsibility to take care of them, but she said it is due to the lack of consideration by the relevant authorities since they are the one responsible for the maintenance of the school.
The school has a population of about 130 students and they complained of not having a proper play area and most of their recreational activities are hindered.