Violence suspends school’s classes

ST. ANN, Jamaica – Classes have been suspended at the Brown’s Town High School in St. Ann following a series of violent attacks, including the physical abuse of a student by a parent.

Acting principal at the school, Joyce Wilson, was reportedly physically attacked on Monday after she attempted to intervene in an altercation between two male students.

According to one teacher, at least six teachers have been attacked by students in recent weeks.

Police were called to the school after a parent attacked a group of students and later had his car tyres slashed. One of the students was reportedly injured in the attack.

The parent, 35-year-old Lemore Campbell, had reportedly gone to see the school’s principal after his son complained that four male students had taken money from him. Mr. Campbell was arrested and is scheduled to appear in the Brown’s Town Resident Magistrate’s Court today.

Several placard-bearing teachers at the institution staged a peaceful protest yesterday at the entrance to the school. Grade nine coordinator Barbara Waite told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that the teachers staged a protest to highlight the problems at the institution.

“We decided that we had had enough. So far we can count six teachers have been abused and as a school we’ve tried to deal with it, call in the parents, and we decided that if we do not do something about it now it will not stop,” Waite said.

Sergeant Randolph Haughton of the Brown’s Town Police Station confirmed reports of extortion at the school.

“There are some students who are known by name who are involved; some are former students of the institution. We have visited the school almost daily in relation to other indiscipline at the school,” he said. Sergeant Haughton said police personnel would be conducting regular patrols at the institution.

Meanwhile, Ruel Reid, president of the Jamaica Teachers Association, has called for school administrators to address the problem of violence among students in the early stages.

“I would certainly implore school administrators to nip this problem in the bud. Take the necessary precautions and interventions necessary to bring these kind of incidents under control,” he said.

He has also reiterated the need for safe zoning around schools to address the problem posed by some vendors. In addition, he said that personnel from the JTA’s regional office in St. Ann have been dispatched to the school following the reported incidents.