Parents fight to keep school open
With the Gilbert Institute facing possible closure, the school’s Parent Teacher Association has suggested a new cost-cutting measure.
“We’ve come up with an idea that the parents can help with the facilities,” PTA secretary Suzanne DeCouto said. “If there’s a leak in the roof or electricity issues, we have parents who can fix it.”
Ms DeCouto spoke to The Royal Gazette at a demonstration to keep the Paget school open, after the recently released school reorganisation (Score) report identified it as one of four primary schools that could shut.
Heron Bay Primary School, Prospect Primary School and St David’s Primary School are also under threat from the report, which considered criteria such as safety and accessibility, building condition, school utilisation, classroom capacity and financial resources.
Yesterday morning’s rally held outside Modern Mart in Paget saw dozens of protesters unite for the cause.
Passing motorists honked in support of parents, teachers, children and supporters of the school, who hoisted banners carrying slogans such as “Think Smart, Save Gilbert” and “I Am Bermuda’s Future”.
Ms DeCouto said: “It’s been amazing — the number of people who have come out to help us get the word out about how important our school is to us and the community.”
However, she criticised the Government for failing to provide legitimate reasons to shut Gilbert Institute.
“They haven’t approached us, and we have no concrete idea exactly why they want to close the school,” she said. “We’d like to know — have they found someone to buy the land?”
PTA president Claire Percy praised the demonstration’s “fantastic turnout”, adding: “We would really like to get the message across that we are a community.
“Our school is important to us and to the children, and we’re going to stand together as a united front.”
Nine-year-old student Dominique Brown said she would be “really sad” if Gilbert Institute were to shut.
“All the children who come to this school love it and love the teachers too,” she said. “If we had to move to another school, we would have to leave behind all the memories we made here.”
Umai Santucci, 10, said the rally had been “beautiful”.
“I would feel mad if the school shut, but I’m happy because everyone is out here to support Gilbert Institute,” she added.
Christopher Pitcher, 11, said: “Our school is the best school I have ever been to, and I love meeting my friends there.
“I would ask the Government to please think of the children, and all the adults. We’ve got to leave our schools open.”
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