By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia insisted on Monday that his government has repaired damaged school infrastructure, but acknowledged that there is still much to do.
He made his remarks in reaction to videos posted in social media by students from a public school in Camuy showing deteriorated restrooms without water or soap. The governor also denied that officials were retaliating against the young female students who made the public complaint.
“We are making a lot of progress, but obviously, we are not at 100%, and here we have around 850 schools in Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi said in response to questions from the press. “So, what I have already said publicly is that for me, it is not important who the messenger is; it is the message. It is also not important how the information arrives, if it comes from communication networks, from social networks, or if it comes from the media or if it comes from an inspection.”
“Wherever it comes from, deficiencies must be addressed, and I see that the secretary is very proactive and is visiting the campuses,” the governor added. “Not only [is she] confirming that there are deficiencies, because there are times when the information may not be correct, but she also engages with the students.”
“So, she is doing what she has to do in terms of responding to the complaints that we have had, but again we have around 850 schools,” he noted. “If there are any indications, we are going to deal with them.”
In August, there were many complaints from students about the lack of air conditioning in the sweltering heat at the island’s schools.
The Education Department, an oft-criticized bureaucratic behemoth that oversees one of the largest school districts in a U.S. jurisdiction with more than 259,000 students and more than 850 schools, has been criticized because resources often do not reach schools.