Principal defends prefab classroom parents call ‘a shed’

Principal defends prefab classroom parents call ‘a shed’
Pic: Press 22

By David Raleigh

A principal has defended conditions at a prefab classroom at the school after complaints by parents their children are being taught in "a shed", which is making them "ill".

Parents, who said conditions at the temporary classroom at The Model primary school are unhealthy, protested outside the school today highlighting their concerns.

The protest group previously complained to the school after a unisex toilet was provided for 24 sixth class boys and girls who are using the prefab.

"The children at the moment are being taught in a shed," one parent told local radio station Limerick's live 95FM.

"There is two sufficient classrooms that will take the two sixth classes - that was arranged in June," claimed another parent.

"There are three to four children a week being sent home sick and the principal is refusing to do anything," she added.

"They are sick, they are freezing cold, and they have been punished for leaving their coats on in school," claimed another parent.

"The boys aren't allowed to use the toilet (in the prefab)," another parent said.

"They have to come into the main building to get a key fob to come around the (main) building to come in and - a basic human right - to go to the toilet. The boys aren't allowed (use the prefab toilet), the girls can," the woman added.

The school has sought planning permission for four new classrooms with links to the main building which caters for 655 pupils.

Speaking at the school today, Principal Diarmuid O'Mhurchú said: "The boys have to walk roughly about sixteen metres to go to an alternate toilet, even though the toilet in the classroom is a unisex toilet."

"To afford another element of security within the (main) building, our doors are electro magnetic. We give pupils a key fob, so that when they are coming into the (main) school they press it, and come through the (main) door, which is eight metres from their own classroom...another six metres from the door is the toilet," he added.

Mr Mhurchú said €46,000 has been spent refurbishing the prefab, which he added, "has oil-fired central heating, ensuite toilet facilities, Wi-Fi and interactive whiteboard, and has been in use as a classroom by the school community for the last six years."

Mr O'Mhurchú said Glenwood Preservation Ltd, Killarney, had inspected the classroom and stated they could find "no evidence of dampness" nor did it make any recommendations.

He said some parents were unwilling to accept the report's findings and they had contacted Limerick Fire Service, Limerick city and county council, and the environmental health department of the HSE.

Mr Mhuruchú added: "All of whom have visited the classroom and in their professional capacities have informed both the school and the parents that the classroom is suitable and fit for purpose."

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