Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Bethany Primary in dire need of assistance

Published:Friday | June 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
The principal’s cramped office space.
The doorway of the the principal’s office with stripping walls as a result of the leaky roof.

Bethany, Manchester:

The Bethany Primary School, just outside the community of Christiana, is desperately in need of assistance to ensure the safety, comfort and academic excellence of the students.

According to the principal of the institution, Prudence Blake, the school is more than 100 years old and much of the infrastructure is dated.

She said that renovation of the canteen and the repainting of the school was done last year by the past students. However, the school has no perimeter fencing and her office is in a deplorable state.

"It is possibly an 8x10 office space. That is small and does not allow accommodation for meetings ... it leaks whenever it rains and because of that we can't store certain documents in the office," Blake told The Gleaner.

She further mentioned that "the door itself is not really a door, it's more like a metal cage. The windows are broken, which makes entry from outside easy ... . We have had break-ins, and so I can't leave anything of great value in the office."

Of greater concern is the safety and security of students.

"There is no barrier between the roadway and the school. We are trying to engage the corporate community to contribute towards procuring the fence. About 1,300 feet of fencing will be required," explained George Ramsay, a member of the past students' group that is to undertake the project.

The estimated cost to renovate the principal's office and install the fencing is $4 million, according to Ramsay.

Situation at school could drive away parents

Blake says that although they have taken steps to mitigate theft, the lack of fencing may be a deterrent to parents who are looking for a school to send their children.

The principal said that she has written to the Ministry of Education to seek assistance, but she only got a verbal response stating that she needed to seek the assistance from stakeholders.

Persons interested in making donations may call the principal at (876) 379-4033 or past students in the US: Michael Clarke 305-525-6166, Elaine Clarke 305-525-6167 or George Ramsay at 954-732-2425.