Bodden Town teenager Trevor Carmola Jr. has said recent negative reports of alleged drug use at his high school have been impacting student morale.
However, he is urging his schoolmates to stay strong and be proud of their school.
The 14-year-old Clifton Hunter High School honour student, who has been hailed as a hero for his bravery in pulling an elderly man out of a burning house in April, made the point when he appeared on the Cayman Compass weekly show The Resh Hour on 26 May.
Carmola said reports of students consuming ganja edibles have left him “rather embarrassed” and it “looks rather bad on the school”.
Earlier this month, police launched an investigation into an incident at Clifton Hunter High School in which three students fell ill after consuming food items containing an unknown substance, which were suspected of being ganja edibles. That probe is still pending.
Carmola said since that incident, the school has been investigating the issue as well as holding assemblies to talk about it.
“They’ve been doing the searches. I’m not too sure on some of the results, but I’m pretty sure most of them are clear. They’ve done drug tests and all that,” he added.
He said as an honour student he wanted his schoolmates to know that they have nothing to be sad about when it comes to their school.
“Don’t let the media or anyone get you down like that. Keep your head up, keep moving forward. I know who you are as a person,” Carmola said.
His mother, Deirdre Carmola, who is also SEN (Special Educational Needs) case manager, inclusion in the Ministry of Education, added as a parent that initial social media reports about ganja edibles were a concern, but she lamented that government high schools are often the ones highlighted when such incidents are not unique to these institutions.
“The children in the midst of this… they’re feeling sort of segregated as if it’s only the public school and it’s not a public-school issue in itself. It’s all of the schools and all children have to be exposed to good choices, talks and support for having access to drugs and not using,” she said.
She added she understands there is a certain negativity attached to issues like this one, which creates concerns for parents, but she said it’s time to move on.
“I feel as if we have an opportunity to create healing,” she said, adding that with all the trauma coming out of COVID and the lack of jobs, “the downtrodden seem to be becoming more downtrodden… and we have never really been that kind of society”.
There are a lot of good things happening in government schools, and Trevor is an example of that, she added.
To honour Trevor for his exemplary behaviour and bravery, the Compass presented him with a framed certificate and a gift hamper sponsored by Jacques Scott.