Quake leads to school bust up

Police: ‘Student tried to hit staff member’

A scuffle involving a John Gray High School student, a teacher and two police
officers broke out in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake on Grand Cayman.

The bust up led to the student
being hospitalised with bloody wounds and scrapes on his neck.

In a statement released late
Tuesday, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said officers attempted to
restrain the boy after he “attempted to strike a member of staff”.

“A complaint has been received by
RCIPS about the police action and a full investigation into the circumstances
will take place,” Police Superintendent Adrian Seales said, adding that no
arrests had been made.

Witnesses said a number of parents
and relatives of students had arrived at the school on Walkers Road in George
Town to pick up their children on Tuesday morning, shortly after a
magnitude-5.8 earthquake hit 32 miles east south-east of Bodden Town.  

Allan Dabrio, who had arrived at
the campus to pick up his younger sister, described a scene of some disarray.

“They didn’t want the kids to walk
home,” Mr. Dabrio said. “Some jumped over the fence, some walked outside the
fence (in front of the school) when the cars drove out.”

However, witnesses at the campus
said all seemed to remain relatively calm until school officials made an
announcement that no more students would be allowed to leave and that parents
could no longer pick their kids up.

At this point, a 15-year-old John
Gray student – whose name the Caymanian Compass is not releasing to protect his
identity – attempted to walk off the school campus.

According to Keisha Dabrio, a
parent who was there to pick up her daughter, school principal Aldin Bellinfantie
followed the young man shouting at him on a bullhorn to come back to class.

Two police officers who are
assigned to John Gray were also on the scene and, according to Mrs. Dabrio,
grabbed hold of the student’s arm when he turned and started to walk back
toward the principal.

It was shortly after the young man
turned around when witnesses said police attempted to restrain him. The
struggle ended with the student on the ground and police officers on top of

“They held him like a wild animal.”
Mrs. Dabrio said. “They were on top of him with their knees on him.

“He was shouting, ‘get off me, get
off me’ while the police held him down,” she continued. “We were all yelling
for police to stop.

“It was quite upsetting actually.”

Eventually, the struggle ended and
the teen was released to his aunt’s custody. He was taken to hospital shortly
afterward by private vehicle.

Royal Cayman Islands Police
released the following statement about what had occurred:

“A pupil became disruptive when he was advised by staff that the school
would be resuming and not closing for the day. [RCIPS] police liaison officers
who were at the school intervened and arrangements were made for a relative of
the pupil to attend the school and take him home.”

“[Police] also have been made aware of a couple of reports that pupils
who were unhappy about the school resuming jump[ed] the fence. Overall the
majority of the pupils at the school were well behaved and it was well ordered
– just a very small minority causing the problems.”

The entire struggle scene played
out on the front lawn of the school, in view of those both inside and outside
the John Gray fence line.