CAY BAY–300 pupils from the Leonard Connor School were evacuated on Monday morning because of a substance suspected to be sulphur dioxide in the air at the school. One teacher fainted and was unable to go to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) because there was only one ambulance in service busy with another emergency.
Sulphur dioxide is a toxic gas with a pungent, irritating smell. It also affects human health when it is breathed in. It irritates the nose, throat, and airways to cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling around the chest.
Parent Teacher Foundation President Jenifer Cannegieter has been in contact with the Public Education Department and GEBE for weeks trying to get the situation resolved. The Fire Department has conducted checks but has given their findings to the Education Department and not the school.
“We have pupils who get nose bleeds and suffer from short breaths and today we had to evacuate because one of the teachers fainted. The electricity at the school has been an issue for a long time. We cannot even add any more AC’s or anything electrical because the capacity has reached its limit,” stated the PTF President on Monday.
She added that every time she calls GEBE management she is told that they are looking into it. “Meanwhile our children and teachers are not in a safe environment. We wanted to hire our own electrician but that is a problem because the Department of Education wants to hire its own electrician for the school. All GEBE has to do is invest on filters so that we can breathe safe air,” Cannegieter said.
The school remains closed until the situation is resolved.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/61280-300-pupils-evacuated-at-leonard-connor-school