Children safe during asbestos scare

STUDENTS at Frenchville State Primary School were confined to their classrooms on Wednesday after an asbestos scare at the North Rockhampton school.

Authorities were alerted after a child was seen breaking up a small lump of fibro in the schoolyard.

More than 1000 children were locked in classes as a sample of the material was taken for investigation.

The school's main oval was closed down amid fears the fibro, a piece of building debris, contained asbestos.

Yesterday afternoon Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten revealed test results showed there was no asbestos in the material.

Mr Schwarten said the reaction of the school showed asbestos in schools was being taken seriously.

“If asbestos is noticed in a school I expect them to react to that situation and take the best precaution there is, especially if it's been broken,” he said.

“And the second thing is I expect them to notify parents. We've done that immediately.

“I think all of the procedures put in place show we're serious about the issue.”

Mr Schwarten said QBuild, the leading provider of construction and strategic building maintenance services for the Queensland Government, couldn't determine where the piece of fibro came from.

He said there had been some construction work at the school recently but that builders had done an extensive clean-up after the works.

There was a chance the small piece of fibro was taken to school by a student, Mr Schwarten said.

A professional clean of the area was done on Wednesday but the area near the fibro building remained restricted until the clearance was provided.

The school's principal, Leisa Neaton, sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday assuring a “commitment to keep our school safe”.

“These precautions will ensure that all students and staff are kept safely away from the area,” Ms Neaton said.

Julie Lynch, a mother of two students who attend the school, yesterday said she was pleased with how the situation was handled.

“We have been with the school for more than seven years and I have always been happy with the way the school handles things,” Ms Lynch said as she dropped some uniforms off at the school.

She said her children had told her all about the evacuation when they got home from school on Wednesday.

“It was a bit different to their regular routine but they weren't worried.”

She said the regular “mock evacuation” practices throughout the year were effective in preparing students for events like this.



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