Students at Elwood High School want something done about roof leaks in the 40-year-old building, with some saying they fear for their health.
Elwood Grade 12 student Alexandra Anstey said one classroom cannot be used at all, forcing staff to put two or more classes in one room. School staff, she said, have done all they could, but fears are growing among the students that the situation could get even worse before something is done about it.
“We’re worried now about mould,” said Anstey. “They tested for mould a little while ago and it’s mold-free but I’m worried about those wet tiles.”
Pictures obtained earlier this week show damage done by severe leakage, most likely from melting snow seeping through the roof. The pictures show several classrooms with garbage cans being used as water receptacles and a damaged ceiling.
A lot of the ceiling tiles, said Anstey, are brown and soggy, and would have fallen if staff didn’t catch them in time. There are buckets and garbage cans all over the hallways and Anstey said during one class she and her fellow students refused to take part without being able to bring their concerns to the school administration.
“There were leaks upstairs but it’s starting to leak downstairs too,” she said. “Something is not draining the water out, it’s even coming through some parts of the walls too.”
Anstey’s mother, Nancy Anstey, said she and other parents are upset, not just about the damage, but the fact that parents were not made aware any of this was going on.
“What bothers me the most is that they never had the decency to contact the parents about this,” she said. “We’re seeing that the water is discoloured in those buckets, this is not healthy, and I’d like to see whoever is in charge to start caring a little more about this.”
Deer Lake resident Denise Stuckless, who has a son in the school, has been collecting photographs of the damage taken by students and distributing them through social media.
“My son says he was in a classroom and started feeling water dripping down his back from the ceiling,” she said. “I asked why he didn’t tell us and he said he didn’t think there was anything we could do; it’s pretty bad when they think this is something they just have to accept.”
Grade 12 student Samantha Janes said she knows of one student who had his locker flooded, with his possessions inside.
“We’re trying to get the parents involved, hoping we can get something done,” she said.
School staff were unavailable for comment. A school board representative said the matter would be looked at and settled as soon as possible.
“If we have to, we can make special budgetary items to help cover the cost of the repairs,” said Eastern School Board spokesman Ken Morrisey. “We are aware of the situation and it will be remedied.”
He added now that the weather should warm up, the chances of the repair job being sped up are greater. There was no word on the cost, and the roof was still being looked at by repair staff as late as Friday afternoon.
Elwood was built in the mid 1970s.