This week’s featured development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended are the killings of two school children in contrasting circumstances within less than 48 hours, which left the nation stunned.
One incident highlighted the continued indiscipline of students which has been grappling the nation’s schools, which many suggest has been a spill over of the wider crime endemic that has long been engulfing the nation.
The other tragic killing of a teenager was a case of mistaken identity, as the triggerman was the victim’s own father who mistook his son for an early-morning intruder. The incident was yet another indication of the fear of citizens relative to the crime situation locally, where over 1,100 persons have been slain so far this year.
The victims relative to the fatal incidents are: 15-year-old Raheem Shaw, a grade 11 student of Wolmer’s Boys’ School in Kingston; and 16-year-old Michion Campbell, a fifth form student of Kingston Technical High School, also in Kingston.
According to police reports, young Raheem, who resided in Hellshire, St Catherine, was shot at his home by his 51-year-old father who mistook him for an intruder early on Wednesday.
It was reported that about 3:15 am, the teenager’s mother awoke to the sound of the front gate and grille to the premises being opened, and alerted her husband, a licensed firearm holder.
The man armed himself and ventured into the living room, from where he reportedly heard the front door being opened, and discharged three rounds through the door.
Checks subsequently revealed that it was his son who was outside the door, and the boy had been shot.
Raheem was taken to the Spanish Town Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Days after the teen’s death, there are still more questions than answers as to why Raheem was outside the family house at that hour of the morning.
The now grief-stricken father was interviewed by the police in the presence of his attorney, Peter Champagnie KC, on Thursday.
The scene of the shooting of Raheem Shaw in Hellshire, St Catherine on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, grief counselling sessions were held for students and teachers at Wolmer’s Boys’ School, where Raheem was a sub-prefect.
He was described by the school’s fifth form coordinator as a dedicated, brilliant and kind student, who was an aspiring businessman and inventor.
Principal of the school, Dwight Pennycooke, remembered Shaw as an avid basketball lover. The administrator also lauded the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders for providing support to the students who were devastated by Raheem’s passing.
By Thursday afternoon, another report emerged of another student, Michion Campbell, being killed.
A schoolmate of hers, who reportedly inflicted the deadly wounds, is a 17-year-old girl. She is now in police custody.
Reports are that Michion and the fellow grade 11 student were at school when a dispute developed between them just before 3pm.
Indications are that a fight ensued, and the two girls were injured in the process, with Michion receiving stab wounds to her neck and face.
They two schoolers were taken to the hospital, where Michion succumbed to her injuries and the other child was treated and released into the custody of the police.
A thick cloud of gloom hovered over the Kingston Technical High School campus on Friday, as several grief counsellors reached out to students and teachers at the institution following Michion’s dramatic death.
“The school is still in shock; we are very saddened by the very unfortunate incident,” said Principal Malton Campbell on Friday.
He told Loop News that 20 grief counsellors from the Ministry of Education and Youth were providing support to the students, staff and parents.
Campbell said the incident was a “wake-up call” for stakeholders in the education system to ensure that “all our children are equipped with the necessary skills and tools to resolve conflicts, because we know we have to cater to students who come from communities that have different issues with crime and violence.”
Despite the incident, he said Kingston Technical High is a disciplined and safe school.
The scene of the fatal stabbing at Kingston Technical High School in downtown Kingston on Thursday afternoon.
“We have never had any incident like this at this institution in the last three years,” said Campbell, adding that external factors may have resulted in the fatal stabbing on Thursday.
He did not elaborate on what those external factors were believed to have been.
For his part, Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Kingston, Donovan Williams, described Michion’s killing as being tragic.
“You know we need to go back to the days when the schools, the homes and the churches are seen as the major agents of socialisation, (and) places were our children can feel safe,” he said.
The deaths of the two schoolchildren over the course of two days generated contrasting views across social media.
In relation to Raheem’s killing, some persons sympathised with his father, but others suggested that he should be held accountable for his actions as a licensed firearm holder.
“If the father isn’t charged then the police force is a joke,” declared Facebook user, Gud Luk Boss.
“Firearm training clearly states that u (you) r (are) not supposed to discharge ur firearm unless ur life is in imminent danger. The fact that the person was outside behind a door is clear violation of that rule,” he argued.
“Did he give a warning to who was outside?” he questioned.
“He (Raheem’s father) couldn’t do better. It’s just a pity he (Raheem) died.”
Sonia Hunt commented: “It’s an accident that could have happened to anyone.
“The way things are happening in the country every day… you have to be on you pees and ques…. It is so sad… SIP sweet boy,” she wrote.
Said Stacey Ann Reid: “At 3 o’clock inna di maaning 15 years old, weh di… him a come from?!!!
“Parents more than likely didn’t even know him not in the house, and wouldn’t be expecting that he would be the one coming in. OMGGGGG!!!! Parents going to be tormented by guilt and if mi did know. Sooo sad all around.”
“How can you blame teachers from taking up different jobs or migrating from these kind of students?” questioned Roxanne Gordon, a Facebook user.
“They (the students) can only fight and don’t know s**t in class. You don’t see these (types of incidents) in the schools where children want to excel,” she added.
In response to her remarks, Merline Richards stated: “Roxanne Gordon, not agreeing with this action, but this is happening too much in schools across the globe, so run from schools in Jamaica to USA or UK won’t solve the problem.
“Where are the parents for these children? What about the homes they are coming from? We need to take responsibility for our children’s actions and stop placing it on the Government,” she suggested.
“Roxanne Gordon, I agree with you. This is not happening at Immaculate, Campion, Wolmer’s and Andrews, to name the few,” she claimed.
Yvonne Griffiths commented: “How we got here is a tragedy. One young life gone and the other ruined.
“Why if they’re fighting weapon come in? Is like we are so prone to such extreme violence and over-reaction. I don’t care how old the attacker is, she should be punished! My deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. God help us!”
For his part, social media user, Vassell Meka, described the death of Michion as a “sad situation”.
Continuing, he said: “We need to add social, emotional learning in schools in Jamaica.
“… And also… facilities for student who have behavioural problems. People forget that mental illness can be behavioural as well.
“Some of these kids who are out in public schools should not be in public school. They need therapeutic schools,” stated the social media user.