Protesting Freetown Primary teachers beg the Ministry of Education: ‘Come clean up the school yard, Jack!’

Teachers at the Freetown Primary School say that they and the students they serve appear not to matter to either the Minister or the Ministry of Education.

In a sit-in that began last Thursday, November 17, teachers protested the unsafe and unsightly condition of the compound at the southeastern school, noting the height of the grass, in particular, and the need for paving parts of the grounds.

Possibly on account of the grass, which is almost the height of the fence, the classrooms are being invaded by both mosquitos and wasps, a teacher complains.  

Last week, as the island was deluged by heavy rains, a parent says the low-lying schoolyard was muddy and slushy, making it hard to negotiate by vehicle or by foot.

On Day 2 of the protest, a disappointed teacher lamented the situation in a Facebook post, asking whether they were being ignored because the school is small or because “Freetown is too far for anybody to care.”

But despite the length of their protest, the teachers report that, up to today, Tuesday, November 22 – Day 4 of the sit-in – there has been no corrective action from the Ministry of Education.  

Earlier, one educator told REAL News that a Ministry employee had informed a staff member that the Director of Education, Clare Browne, is on vacation – and that their complaints should have been directed to the school’s principal.

Others took their plight, supported by photographs, to social media, hoping to prompt a response from Education Minister Darryl Matthew – to no avail.

Today, Tuesday, another Facebook post noted that it was “Day #4 of a sit-in that shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.”  It ended with a plea: “Come clean up the school yard, Jack!”

Another post likened the school yard to a jungle.

One mother tells our Newsroom that she kept her child home from school today, adding that the principal has been keeping the other children quiet “under the shed.”