NEWS

B.C. schools need seismic upgrades, urges parent Jennifer Stewart

04/28/2015 03:12 EDT | Updated 08/02/2015 02:59 EDT
The 7.8 magnitude in Nepal serves as a reminder of the 202 schools in British Columbia rated by the government as "high-risk" and vulnerable to damage and structural failure in the case of an earthquake, and a Vancouver parent said officials aren't working fast enough to make those schools safe.

"It's always a reminder that we send many of our children to school to spend six hours a day in buildings that are rated with a high likelihood to fall down in the event of an earthquake," Jennifer Stewart, a member of the Vancouver School District Parent Advisory Council and the founder of Families Against Cuts to Education told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

A deadline to seismically upgrade schools had been set for 2020, but Education Minister Peter Fassbender has moved that deadline back between 5 and 10 years, depending where you are in the province. 

Stewart wants to see upgrades done sooner.

"It makes me question our priorities as a society that we are okay with this situation not being rectified immediately. I think that any day the children spend in these buildings is a risk. Any minute that they spend is a risk," she said.

Fassbender has said funding isn't at issue — and said the issue has been the "inability of the Vancouver School Board to bring forward good initiatives."

Stewart said comments like that aren't helpful.

"I really don't think this should be a political football," she said. "I think when we're talking about the safety of children, it doesn't matter who is at fault — let's get it done."

The Ministry of Education didn't respond to a request for comment.

To hear the full interview with Jennifer Stewart, listen to the audio labelled: Parent calls for seismic upgrades in schools.

MORE:cbcNews