KINGSTON – A pall of gloom is now hanging over the Anchovy Primary School in St James as staff and students try to come to grips with the tragic death of seven-year-old Easton Stapleton, Jr, who was killed on the school’s compound by a car being driven by a teacher.
The incident reportedly took place a few minutes after 4 p.m. on Tuesday when the grade two student, who resided in Belmont district, was struck down. The teacher seemingly lost control of the car while reversing, struck the youngster, then crashed into a wall.
“Easton was a loving, playful, and happy student who was always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that his classmates were well taken care of,” said a grieving Veronica Collins, Stapleton’s class teacher.
The freak accident also resulted in the injuring of a vendor when a section of the wall that was struck by the car collapsed on her. The incident has left students and teachers in a state of anguish.
“Anything you need, you could rely on Easton to get it done for you,” the teacher continued. “His classmates are taking it very hard. They all loved him very much.”
Collins told The Gleaner that just before school was dismissed on Tuesday, the class was doing mathematics, which was Stapleton’s favourite subject.
“Math was the last subject that he did yesterday, and he spent all his time trying to get all of his work correct. I remember he got one incorrect, and he came back and sat at the table, asking how to get this one done. So we assisted him in making the necessary corrections,” explained Collins.
Yesterday, a picture of Stapleton was seen hanging inside his classroom where students, teachers, and visitors came to pay their respect.
A special counselling session was held for staff and parents by representatives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Community Safety and Security Branch, the Ministry of Education, the Peace Management Initiative, the National Parent-Teacher Association, and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Angela McIntosh-Gayle, who visited the school, urged family and friends not to play the blame game or take the law into their own hands, no matter how painful it might be.
“We are imploring parents to just stay calm and show their children more love because everyone is going through a sad time,” said McIntosh-Gayle, who noted that the matter was still under investigation.
The teacher, who was involved in the incident, was so traumatized that she had to be admitted to hospital.