Berry should apologise to parents, teachers and students

Education Minister Yvette Berry should offer an unqualified apology to parents, teachers, staff and students for her poor handling of an asbestos contamination at Harrison School.
After the presence of non-friable asbestos in garden beds at Harrison School was confirmed, Ms Berry tried to downplay the contamination with inaccurate comments and inferences that it was inappropriate to be concerned about the contamination.
Ms Berry publicly announced that: only one garden bed had an asbestos contamination; information of the contamination had been provided to the community; she would “get to the bottom of it”; the situation was being safely managed; and that to raise concerns about the matter was outrageous and unnecessary.
It has been more than two weeks since the asbestos contamination was confirmed. We now know that several garden beds are contaminated as well as a neighbouring school.
It has also been revealed that many in the school community only learned of the situation through the media, and safety fencing was only set up days after reports of a contamination were first made.
Further, Ms Berry still has not provided the community or the Canberra Liberals with an explanation or assurances to allay parents’ concerns.
Parents have every right to be concerned about the welfare of their children while they are at school and under the care of the government.
It was wrong of Ms Berry to use inaccurate information to try to downplay the seriousness of the situation, attempting to dismiss genuine concerns with accusations of political point scoring.
Her handling of the situation has been an embarrassment. Her inaccurate statements, inferences and then complete silence is disrespectful to parents, teachers, school staff and the students who were unknowingly exposed to the toxic substance.
Ms Berry should apologise to the community and provide full assurances that other schools have not been contaminated.