'Life's work lost': Support for staff, students after fire
BILOELA State School principal John Adie says five teachers have lost in some cases careers' worth of work in a fire which destroyed a head of department building at the high school last night.
"I got a call about five to 3 this morning to tell me that my building was on fire," Mr Adie told the Central Telegraph.
"It's too early for me to know exactly what's happened, there's a police investigation going on. We know we've lost a building, and we've lost a lot of resources," he said.
"We've got five teachers who've lost in some cases a life's work of their schooling. A couple of teachers have lost computers and their day-to-day work tools.
"We've spoken to those five teachers, we've actually spoken to all of our staff this morning to let them know what's happened. I've arranged for counselling for those five staff immediately this morning. But we'll be providing ongoing support for everybody, because it doesn't just go away in one day."
Mr Adie said the school would work with the Department to ensure the year ends well for students, "despite the trauma that obviously comes with part of your school (being lost)".
"There'll be a lot of kids in Biloela wondering what is going to be affected on their assessment," he said.
"Our year 12s have got two weeks to go in terms of their learning, so they'll be worried today.
"I'd just say to them: We'll look after them. The Queensland Curriculum Authority will look after them as well. They don't need to worry."
Mr Adie said Biloela State School had already offered to help so that the high school would be ready to reopen as normal on Monday.
"We've got our friends across the road from Biloela primary who are able to house our Year 7 students because their Year 6s are on camp for a week, so something's turned our way in that respect," he said.
"That will free up classrooms for the displaced kids. So we'll be on deck, at work, on Monday morning."
The principal was at a loss for words when asked to describe why someone might have wanted to burn down a school building.
"If police are able to confirm that it's arson, I would have no idea," he said.
"If someone wanted to get back at someone, what they've done is they're getting back at all sorts of kids, hundreds of kids that are affected. If they wanted to target someone in particular it never does that.
"But we're resilient, people are resilient. It's people who make schools, not buildings, so we can lose a building but we're still a strong school."