WAKEFIELD, Trelawny- Minister of Education Maxine Henry-Wilson yesterday condemned a clash between feuding students attending the Muschett Comprehensive High School, which left grade 10 student Kemar Barrett dead, and a grade 11 student hospitalised, under police guard.
"Clearly. we want our children to be able to relate to each other without violence. We will have our usual trauma team going in, but each one of these incidents brings a great deal of sadness to us and really indicate the work we have to do," the minister said.
The evening shift of the school had to be called off and internal examinations suspended because of the violent incident which saw the two teenagers getting stabbed.
However, students sitting the external SSC examinations were allowed to proceed.
The police reported that about 11:45 am Barrett, who lived in Adelphi, was among a group of students walking from school towards a bus stop in Wakefield when two other students armed with a machete and a knife attacked the group.
Barrett, the police said, managed to disarm the machete wielder and used the machete to inflict wounds to the other, who used a knife to stab him.
Both injured students were taken to the Falmouth Hospital, where Barrett was pronounced dead. The other student, whose name the police have withheld, was admitted to hospital under police guard.
Ironically, the school's acting principal Millicent Gray was attending a violence prevention workshop put on by the University of the West Indies at the time of the incident.
"It is the irony of it all you know. At the beginning of the workshop they asked what are the problems you have. I pointed out conflict resolution, and I spoke about gang-related things because we have students from Falmouth area in gang-related incidents, and immediately after to hear this," a distraught Gray told the Observer.
The acting principal said tension has been high within the school community as a result of the intensified gang-related activities among students at the school in recent times.
Yesterday, Barrett's aunt, Beverly Irving, was shocked and at pains to accept that her nephew was stabbed to death.
"I don't even know. it is so shocking, me can't come to it me no think him dead now; he is not a troubled child, him not even talk; me no think him dead all now," said Irving.
She said, too, that she was not aware of her nephew being a part of a gang.