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Odor forces closure of school

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 23, 2013

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The Ministry of Education closed A. F. Adderley Junior High early yesterday after the school’s principal reported a “diesel odor”, Director of Education Lionel Sands said.

Sands said the decision to close the school was made because the ministry “did not want to take the chance and allow students to be in an environment that may not be good for them”.

The school on Baillou Hill Road and Tonique Williams-Darling Highway closed around 1:30 p.m.

Sands said he did not wish to speculate on where the fumes were coming from, but said all reports point to a source off campus.

He said a support team from the Ministry of Environment was sent to the school to determine the source and assess the extent of the issue.

He said while the environmental assessment will guide the ministry’s decision, he expects the school to be open today.

Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson, who was contacted for comment, said she received reports of several teachers and students feeling nauseated.

She said the union will conduct its own environmental assessment at the school.

“What we will have to do on a day to day basis is keep monitoring it,” Wilson said.

“Tomorrow morning we will do an assessment from our end as to whether they (teachers and students) are able to occupy the school.”

Meanwhile, some parents expressed concern that they were not properly informed about the reason for the school’s closure or whether their children were at risk.

Kara Baker, whose daughter is in grade nine, said she (the daughter) contacted her about the early closure.

Baker said it was unacceptable for the school and ministry to leave parents in the dark.

“They haven’t told us anything about it,” she said.

“I went to the Ministry of Education and they claimed that they didn’t know what is going on.

“But the Ministry of Education has to give the okay first for the school to let kids out early.”

John Wells, whose daughter is in grade eight, said the school’s headmaster contacted him before noon to inform him about the closure.

He said while the school did the appropriate thing to safeguard students and teachers, the exact problem was not made clear.

When asked to respond, Sands said the ministry was advised about the concern after noon and before 1 p.m. it made an announcement about the closure on several radio stations.

He said a statement will be issued, but the ministry was awaiting more details.

There are around 800 students at the junior high school.

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