In Tenerife

IES San Miguel building case to be taken to EU

Update 25 February 2013: The  president of the association Happy Children International, Florian Strat, along with other members of the organization are taking the problem with IES San Miguel to the European Commission to request that the analysis of the school tremors is carried out at European level. Sr Strat criticized the Director General of the Canarian Government’s Educational Infrastructure and Centres, Demetrio Suárez Díaz, for not replying to his letters, and will request the EU to investigate whether the law is being broken in respect of the parents’ right to geological reports and other documentation.

Sr Strat said that several parents have expressed concern about the tremors, and spoke of their fear that these could be repeated in the future with catastrophic consequences. He pointed out that the parents have met with a brick wall in their attempts to get information from the Ayuntamiento, hence the association’s involvement. He said that since the school is built on top of three caves, their worries were quite logical, and that if the EU were unable to offer them satisfaction, the association would appeal to the Court in Strasbourg.

Update 29 November: It was back in June that independent tests showed that the IES San Miguel building was sound, but it’s been shaking again today. Pupils were in classes when they felt the 8-classroom annexe moving around midday. San Miguel mayor Valentín González said that municipal and education department technicians were again sent to the school, but once again failed to find any anomaly. After being away from their desks for an hour and half, the pupils were able to return to their lessons.

Update 14 June:  Demetrio Suárez Díaz,  director general de Centros e Infraestructura Educativa de la Consejería de Educación, Universidades y Sostenibilidad del Gobierno de Canarias, confirmed today that the IES San Miguel de Abona buildings are in good condition, Despite the doubts created by vibrations, technical reports confirm the initial findings of Education Department technicians that the movements had causes external to the buildings themselves.

The Department had contracted two external companies to undertake the evaluation in order to give confidence to parents and students that the findings were independent. The two sets of research showed that the school structure is sound, and that there are no anomalies in the ground underneath; geotechnic sensors, moreover, show that there have been no further vibrations in almost two months they have been in situ.

Update 28 March:  The Consejería de Educación del Gobierno de Canarias has ordered tests to be carried out to determine the origin of the cracks and to discover what is happening to the building’s foundations. The Director General de Centros e Infraestructura Educativa, Demetrio Suárez, was at the school in person yesterday with a technical team to speak to teaching staff and parents to explain what the department would do to guarantee security.

One of the mothers of children affected, Manuela Rodríguez Mora, suggested that children should be kept away until the problem was resolved, and insisted that this view was shared by the majority of parents, but Sr Suárez said that works to guarantee safety had, as of yesterday, now started, and that the tests would be carried out as soon as possible in order to have the results back within a week. Meanwhile, the 3rd and 4th years will share the other building on the site, which has not presented any apparent structural problems.

Original post 27 March:  Parents with children at IES San Miguel in Las Zocas say they’ve had enough of the school building for 3rd and 4th years showing cracks and moving alarmingly. The parents met last evening and decided that they won’t risk sending their children to school again until they get official safety guarantees.

They say that everyone knows that the building, whose roof flew off in high winds in November 2010, was constructed in the boom years on top of rubble-filled caves, on which moreover they suspect a pozo negro was placed that could be weakening the foundations. The parents say they don’t believe a word of technical promises that there is no danger, and agreed to meet again at 8.30 this morning with their children at the school gates to demand clarity and information down to the last detail.

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Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
November 2014
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