Newsmaker: Boy brings gun to school; parent-cop tussle at school gate

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

This week’s broad development as Newsmaker of the Week are two separate disturbing incidents that occurred at two schools on Monday, featuring a schoolboy who reportedly brought an illegal firearm to Ocho Rios High School in St Ann, while a parent and a policewoman were involved in an ugly tussle outside the gates of a primary school in St Catherine.

The incident at Ocho Rios High left the nation stunned, as the weapon that was allegedly brought by a 14-year-old boy to school went off while being handled inside a classroom, hitting a 12-year-old girl in her thigh.

She has since been treated for her injury.

The boy was on Thursday charged with wounding with intent with the use of a prohibited weapon, head of the St Ann police, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell, confirmed to Loop News on Friday.

The teen is to appear in the Children’s Court this week.

When the question was again posed to Powell on Friday, if police investigators have learnt where the teenager got the illegal weapon from, he said the investigations are still ongoing.

The incident resulted in calls for more urgent intervention to address the issue of student behaviour at schools.

In fact, Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President, Leighton Johnson, made a call for enhanced security measures in schools, as the incident at Ocho Rios High “underscores the stark reality that our schools are not as safe as they should be”.

He told reporters this week that there are students at schools who pose “severe threats” to the safety of other students and teachers, hence security protocols need to be prioritised.

Social media users shared similar perspectives, while expressing alarm about what transpired at the school.

“What in the world is going on with these kids? Taking a firearm to school to show his schoolmates? Couldn’t hear of a crazier scenario,” a man wrote on Facebook.

“Clearly, the owner of this firearm is now in jeopardy and worse if it is an illegal and unlicensed one. Either way, firearms must never be held or stored where children have knowledge or access of them,” he added.

Commented a woman: “Seems like we need police officers to police schools now because the behaviours of these current crop of students are out of control, believe me.”

Wrote a man: “There are some serious issues with students whose behaviours are out of control”.

Another asked: “Where was the security guard at the school in all of this? In all honestly, heads need to roll at the school as well, where security management is concerned, because aren’t there metal detectors there?”

Meanwhile, a woman claimed that the indiscipline in schools is at an all-time high.

“It’s crazy what happening at schools! Indiscipline seems very high to me. I’m concerned for my daughter who is heading into the profession, because a pure men and women in classroom these days as students,” she argued.

In another disturbing incident that took place at an educational institution on Monday, a woman, who is said to be a parent of a child at the school, was seen in a viral video tussling with a female police officer.

The name of the school was not disclosed.

The Police High Command, in a release, said on Monday, June 17, a team from the Spanish Town Police Station responded to a call from a primary school administrator requesting assistance to remove a disruptive parent from the school compound.

“Despite multiple attempts by the police to engage the individual peacefully, the situation escalated, resulting in the individual’s arrest and subsequent charges, including assaulting policemen and women and resisting arrest,” the release stated.

The woman was also charged with disorderly conduct.

She was eventually offered $100,000 bail when she appeared in the St Catherine Parish Court on Tuesday, local media reports said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness condemned the parent’s actions, and those who have opted to defend her behaviour in the viral video.

Holness said the society needs to speak with “one voice” in condemning such forms of indiscipline, so children do not form the view that such conduct is acceptable.

He said he has asked for a report on security at public schools, and said measures will be established “to ensure that no adult comes on to the school compound and behaves in the way that I’ve seen circulated…”

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in the statement on the incident, also issued a reminder to members of the public of the importance of cooperating with police during any interaction, especially during an arrest.

However, the police, while making the call, did not escape criticism from some social media users, who raised concerns about the methods used to subdue the female.

Concerns were also raised when police in the video were heard saying they did not have a handcuff on location to help to restrain the woman.

The woman was eventually handcuffed after the standoff with the policewoman and a male officer who later intervened.

“The policewoman did the lady wrong. She should be charge too,” a woman wrote on Facebook.

“Why should the (female) officer be charged? She (the accused) is lucky that was a cool police officer,” another woman responded.

In response to that comment, a woman said: “You said it right; a lucky she (the accused woman) lucky the police neva trigger-happy.”

Another female Facebook user said, in her opinion, both parties were wrong in the matter, but she will leave the court to decide on that.

“First of all, I am not here to bash anyone. I didn’t see the beginning of this video. However, based on what I saw and heard, the young lady pointed in the police face first (WRONG), then it seems the police hit her (WRONG), grabbing up the police (WRONG), holding her (the accused) in her hair (WRONG), biting her (WRONG), resisting arrest (WRONG), (and) feelings came into place and things escalated,” the Facebook user stated.

She added that “There are so many things wrong with this picture (video); remember, the police has a gun (and) she could have used it…

“I believe this could have been handled a better way as big people. I’m happy they both are alive.”

Claimed a man: “My goodness, the woman was resisting; all the excitement could have been stopped if she had just cooperated, but this is Jamaica, (where) we were born unruly.”

Another man disagreed with those viewpoints.

“The lady needs a good lawyer because how yuh bite and drag the woman hair like that and nuh get charge? That’s excessive! And the policeman just deh deh and let it escalate,” the man commented.

Opined a woman: “At this point, I don’t care what the woman did, The police officer used brute force against her. I hope the judge use the video in the case.

“If the lady was behaving boisterous there were other ways to de-escalate the situation,” she said.

A man, in responding to the woman’s perspectives, wrote: “We only see a fraction of what transpired in the video (and) I assume that she (the accused woman) must have been behaving badly for the school to call in the police.

“We have to think before we act; ignorance is no excuse to the law,” he asserted.