Maclean teachers fed up with bats
ONE teacher slipped on flying-fox faeces before taking the day off school at Maclean High School last week, while several others have had their clothes soiled as the bat colony continues to raise new concerns for the school community.
Maclean High School Teachers’ Federation representative John Ambrose said the teacher was on his way to work across the timber bridge between the car park and the school when he slipped, fell and ‘hurt himself’.
Mr Ambrose said the mishap, while not too serious in this instance, was just one example of a growing list of problems caused by the flying foxes.
“The bridge is scrubbed down daily so it’s always slippery anyway and it’s also our disabled access,” he said.
“Teachers and kids are being soiled by bats, they fly over the bubblers, now they’ve moved into trees in the main school grounds.”
Mr Ambrose provided a list of problems caused by the flying foxes and some suggested solutions.
“We are thankful that there has been some rooms with air-conditioning but the gym has no air-conditioning and several other classes near the bats, like the science block, have no air-conditioning,” he said.
Mr Ambrose said a tremendous amount of school resources, including the time of administrative, teaching and ground staff, had been wasted on flying-fox issues and students were suffering.
“Some teachers have to go home to change and some are bringing in spare clothes, which just shouldn’t have to happen,” he said.
“You don’t get casual relief – those classes are just left.”
Mr Ambrose said WorkCover and Teachers’ Federation representatives had visited the site and were not impressed at the working conditions.
“Some of the other government agencies that want a bat colony maintained on the site need to dig into their pockets,” he said.
Mr Ambrose also expressed concerns the school’s electricity capacity had been reached and any additions to air-conditioning may mean major infrastructure upgrades.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said the department had ‘acted quickly to install air-conditioning in 11 classrooms over the holidays to reduce the impact of the bats’ presence’.
“There is no current plan to extend air-conditioning further at the school,” the spokesman said.
Maclean High School P&C president Lorraine White said yesterday: “We don’t expect our kids to go learn in a chicken coop, so why do we expect them to learn among bat droppings.”
Could you learn in this environment?
- All seats and bubblers in all playgrounds need covering due to contamination with flying-fox faeces.
- The north-western car park requires covering to avoid faeces and broken tree limbs damaging cars and hitting staff/students.
- Pathway between the science block and canteen needs covering due to bat droppings.
- Basketball courts need to be covered as it is a play area and is subjected to faeces from flying foxes.
- A covered walkway from gymnasium to basketball courts is needed due to flying-fox faeces.
- Gymnasium to be air-conditioned due to noise and smell from roosting flying foxes.
- Art and music blocks to be air-conditioned due to proximity to flying foxes and the smell and noise. Music rooms to be sound-proofed to avoid disturbing the roosting animals in rainforest remnant.
- Canteen to basketball courts pathway needs to be covered to avoid faecal contamination.
- D2 to art block pathway needs to be covered due to faecal matter falling on pathways.
- Special education room to industrial arts block needs covering to avoid faecal contamination.
- A covered way is needed between the hall and the kitchens to avoid faecal contamination of foods when moved.
- Covering of existing pathway to school farm adjacent to rainforest remnant. This is due to the heavy deposits of faeces from flying foxes.
- Disability access ramp on southern side of staff common room needs covering to avoid the faeces that is falling there.
- Disability access ramp from hall to road needs covering due to faecal contamination.
- Industrial bin area needs covering due to faecal contamination.
- All eating areas in senior quad need covering to protect them from flying fox faeces.
- Existing stair access to E-Block need covering to avoid faeces being trodden into carpets by students.
- Marine studies centre roof is used to gather water for tanks for aquaculture. Water is heavily polluted from flying-fox faeces.
- Fence between school and rainforest remnant.
- Air-conditioning of science block.
- Trimming of trees in gully and along rainforest to minimise roosting and resulting faecal contamination over play areas and all buildings.
Reafforestation of rainforest remnant to encourage roosting away from school premises.
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