By Neto Baptiste
Used condoms, plastic bags with remnants of marijuana, along with scissors, knives and broken bottles, are just some of the dangerous items being left for primary schoolers to discover in the Bendals community. They are said to be wantonly discarded by local residents who use the playing field outside regular school hours.
Principal of the Bendals Primary School, José Joseph, spoke to Observer media about what she calls the general disregard with which the school property is treated, adding that the discovery of a used condom by one child on Monday further highlights the need for intervention.
“They will leave empty beer bottles, they would leave sometimes, pieces of marijuana joints, the wrappings for the marijuana and one teacher told me this morning [Monday] that she found a used condom.
“They would knock out [clean] their wet and dirty boots on the walls and they would just leave all of their garbage with no regards of the school and the children who are coming the next day,” she said.
The matter, Joseph said, has been reported to the education officer in charge and, although she has no issues with members of the community utilising the facility, she said they must understand that others and, more importantly children, roam the playing field during school hours the next day.
“It’s a shared space so I have no problem with it being shared but they need to be responsible and make sure they leave it even cleaner than they met it.
“Sometimes they leave the light on all day with no regards for wasted resources or anything. The space is just there so they use it and that’s it,” the principal said.
“I am thinking that if the community is using the space then the schools should be a better place as a result of the community using the space. To be honest I am disgruntled but usually, to be fair to the children, when they see these things they would bring them to our attention. They don’t ever keep them on their person,” she added.
Observer media reached out to the head of the Bendals Football Club and known community activist, Jason Peters, who said that although there is no official training by either his club or another community football club, Green City, currently ongoing at the school, a number of people use the area at night.
“I have spoken to the people who I think are involved but I know for sure that Bendals FC is not taking part in any football and I was told that Green City is not taking part either.
“There have been several times that I’ve even had to stop there to turn the lights off because the lights are just left on and, at this juncture, I just get tired of having to turn off the lights every morning.
“I am willing to sit and have a discussion to map a way forward,” he said.
A Bendals Primary School faculty member highlighted the issue on social media on Monday, asking those guilty of the practice to stop leaving potentially harmful items on the school’s compound.