KINGSTON — There was mourning yesterday at the Barrett Town All-Age School, as well as in the wider community, after a grade six student was fatally stabbed by his classmate shortly after break in the morning.
The deceased has been identified as Shyheim Lewis, also called Chin, 12, of the Jenkins Corner neighbourhood here in Barrett Town.
The child’s alleged killer, who is reportedly from the Vietnam section of Barrett Town, was taken into custody by the Barrett Town police.
It was alleged that about 10:30 am a fight broke out between Lewis and one of his classmates over a seat, during which a knife was brought into play. Lewis, who was stabbed and injured on the neck, was taken to hospital where he died.
Students who were overheard relating the incident said the two boys who, both of whom sat the Grade Six Achievement Test last week, had a heated argument which escalated into a fight.
“Him tell him say he will kill him and run go a him yard,” one of the students was overheard saying.
The students said that shortly after Lewis was stabbed he ran downstairs where he collapsed.
When the Observer visited the school, where a large crowd had gathered, there was a large pool of blood in the area where the student collapsed.
Lewis’s distraught mother, Jacinth Johnson, told the Jamaica Observer that her son’s life could have been saved if the teachers had taken him to hospital earlier.
“…Dem cut him and teachers say dem don’t want dem car to blood up, so dem allow the child to bleed to death,” the mother alleged. “When wi go over deh, di pickney dem a bawl, and di teacher dem [just] stand up so,” claimed the grieving mother.
She also alleged that two of her other children have been the victims of violence at the school in the past.
“… Mi have a son in grade two and dem fling stone and lick him down over there. Den dem stab mi daughter with pencil down here. What kind a school this?” she questioned.
One of Johnson’s female cousins also expressed her shock at the tragic incident. “Wi never know say this would a happen a Barrett Town school. Wi never really, really know say wi would ah witness this,” she said.
“I am here to see what’s going on. We know that there is a challenge in our schools where students are being exposed to crime and violence in the country. It shows that the morals of the society is going down, where students just kill each other,” said Anthony Murray, Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for the Rose Hall Division, who is also principal of the Lethe Primary School. “I want to express my sympathies to the parents who have lost their child,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of students spoke highly of Lewis.
“Chin [was] a friend with almost everyone in school and was a nice boy,” one male student said.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, on hearing the sad news, telephoned the school and expressed condolence to the staff and students. He also extended condolence to relatives of the deceased.
Thwaites, meanwhile, called on the relatives of the student who did the stabbing to take him to the police, so the law can take its course.