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Acklins parents protest amalgamation of primary schools

Parents on Acklins are protesting a decision by the Ministry of Education to close Snug Corner Primary School and relocate its students to Lovely Bay Primary School for classes.

They claim the school no longer has a teacher after a veteran educator was brought in from a school on New Providence with no contract and was removed after six months then sent back to New Providence.

"Stop the closure of our school", "Where is our MP?" and "United we stand, divided we fall" were scrawled across posters held up by parents and students, who yelled "Stop the merge!" during a protest in front of the school.

According to parents, children would have to travel 50 miles to get to and from the school in Lovely Bay each day. They also contend the school cannot accommodate all of the students, particularly in a Covid-19 era when social distancing is the order of the day.

"Lovely Bay is too far for my two little children," said Rochelle Stubbs, a mother of two students and janitress at Snug Corner Primary School.

Anita Collie-Pratt, Councillor for Hard Hill, Mason's Bay and Snug Corner, said she is also against the amalgamation of the primary schools in Snug Corner and Lovely Bay.

"You are asking five-year-old children to wake up at five o' clock in the morning to be transported to Lovely Bay Primary with no social distancing on the bus and no social distancing in the classroom. Where are you going to house these children?" she asked.

"There are 23 children in Snug Corner Primary School and I don't know how many there are in Lovely Bay. This matter was not discussed with the PTA, it was not discussed with the parents. It also just came about and was hand-delivered to them right before the Christmas Holiday," Collie-Pratt said.

"I say to those concerned, those who sit in the house of Parliament and those who sit and make decisions concerning these islands, especially the islands in the Southern Bahamas, Acklins, you all need to think. You need to come and take a drive, you need to come and talk to these people before you make decisions that will affect these people's lives forever," she added.

Parents shouted, "That's right!" as Collie-Pratt addressed the media.

"We are stopping the merge. We want what is best for our children," said one angry mother.

"It is not in the best interest of our children. It is too far, Lovely Bay has water problems and when you have bad weather, the children cannot cross over into Lovely Bay," she added.

Parents said they have made up their mind and they have decided not to send their children to Lovely Bay.

"This is better than any other school in Acklins. We will not relocate. We are not sending our children."

Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd was dismissive on Monday when asked about the amalgamation of some schools.

"Where you all is be man? Y'all don't listen eh?" he asked the reporter.

"We keep saying these things over and over again," Lloyd replied arrogantly.

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