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Tuk school remains closed after vandalism

Philippe Morin
Northern News Services
Published Monday, October 8, 2007

TUKTOYAKTUK - Vandals who were hoping for some extra time off school as reward for their destruction will find themselves sorely mistaken.

Principal Harold Brown said the plan is for students not to lose any class time.

He said courses could be scheduled during midterm exam break days or other gaps in the schedule.

"Right now there are no plans to defer the summer vacations, we think we can make up the lost time," he said.

Staff from Mangilaluk school and the NWT Department of Public Works - some 15 to 20 people - were busy last week, as they cleaned up damage left by vandals on Sept. 23.

Brown said he hoped the school would re-open Oct. 8.

But with fire extinguisher powder - an eye-watering irritant - sprayed everywhere in the school, he said there was no guarantee.

"It is very unfortunate, because we had a great start to the year. Attendance was very good, and this really puts a crimp in what we're doing," Brown said Oct. 3.

He added that many students have condemned the actions of the vandals.

"This is not indicative of the children in this community," he said.

Public Works are conducting some tests in the school to verify air quality., said Brown

"We want to make sure everything is safe," he said.

Manufacturers say the contents of fire extinguishers can cause itchy eyes and exacerbate cases of asthma, as well as irritate the throat and lungs if inhaled.

Daniel Loreen, who lives in Tuktoyaktuk, said many people are angry about the vandalism.

"I know the teachers are really upset, now they are sitting around doing nothing," he said.

Loreen added his daughter Dolly had stayed home during the week, instead of attending class at Mangilaluk.

"She should be in school," he said.