JA­MAICA COL­LEGE MOURNS

STU­DENT’S MUR­DER BAFFLES PAR­ENTS, TEACH­ERS, COL­LEAGUES

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

TEARS FLOWED as anger filled the at­mos­phere at Ja­maica Col­lege (JC) yes­ter­day morn­ing dur­ing and af­ter a spe­cial de­vo­tion ses­sion that served to mourn third-form stu­dent Nicholas Fran­cis, who was mur­dered on a Coaster bus less than 24 hours ear­lier.

Coun­sel­lors were busy of­fer­ing com­fort­ing words to many of the boys, who were in­con­solable as they sobbed con­tin­u­ously.

Some par­ents also openly ex­pressed grief and had to be com­forted by the coun­sel­lors.

Fran­cis, 14, ac­cord­ing to the Con­stab­u­lary Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Unit, was on a Coaster bus near JC at about 4:20 p.m. on Wed­nes­day when a man at­tempted to rob him.

He re­sisted and was sub­se­quently stabbed sev­eral times in the chest.

“I’m feel­ing very badly. I am very very sad, hurt, and even an­gry about this. I can’t un­der­stand how a 14-yearold boy is go­ing to be beaten, stabbed, and thrown off a bus in the pres­ence of adults. No­body did any­thing and he is now dead over a watch and a phone. The phone is not even val­ued $3,000. It’s a ‘Banger’ – a cheap phone – and a cheap watch,” Act­ing Prin­ci­pal Wayne Robin­son told The Gleaner.

Robin­son also noted that re­ports he re­ceived from some of the boys who were on the scene were that other stu­dents chased the killer, but he man­aged to es­caped. class Robin­son­about an said hour he be­foremet with the Fran­cis’ in­ci­dent took place and he de­scribed Nicholas as a bright boy who was quiet.

“The teach­ers would say he needs to talk more – not a boy who trou­bles any­one,” the act­ing prin­ci­pal said.

Robin­son has since or­dered his stu­dents to only take buses pro­vided by the Ja­maica Ur­ban Tran­sit Com­pany.

ANGER ALL AROUND

Pres­i­dent of the school’s par­ent­teacher as­so­ci­a­tion Er­rol Holmes de­scribed his feel­ings as sad, an­gry, and con­tem­pla­tive.

“I am try­ing to find an an­swer and there is none,” Holmes said. “This has been a sense­less death. [He] threw him from the bus, broke his hand . ... I re­ally hope that this man’s con­science will prick him and he would turn him­self in.”

Ma­jor Basil Jar­rett, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Col­lege Old Boys’ As­so­ci­a­tion, told The Gleaner that the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s mem­bers were up­set, an­gry, and dis­traught, es­pe­cially as it would ap­pear that the na­tion’s chil­dren are not off lim­its to vi­o­lence. Jar­rett ad­vised that JC stu­dents look af­ter each other, travel in groups, and urged them not to seek re­venge. Ed­u­ca­tion Minister Ruel Reid, a for­mer prin­ci­pal at the in­sti­tu­tion, said Fran­cis had great po­ten­tial, which has been lost to the en­tire na­tion.

“As a so­ci­ety, we have to stand strongly and closer to­gether against evil and crim­i­nals. They are in the mi­nor­ity, but we are in the ma­jor­ity, but we have to stand up against them and talk what we know and de­fend each other against them,” the minister said.

Mayor of Kingston An­gela Brown Burke has ex­pressed out­rage at Fran­cis’ killing. “A crim­i­nal on a bus with other com­muters should know that there is a vil­lage pro­tect­ing our chil­dren,” Brown Burke said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. Yes­ter­day, the Na­tional Se­condary Stu­dents’ Council (NSSC) said that with the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents in­volv­ing stu­dents, it was am­pli­fy­ing the call for the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force to in­crease pa­trols to mon­i­tor buses and zones that stu­dents fre­quent in a bid to en­sure their safety. “Ad­di­tion­ally, stu­dents are urged to be more ob­ser­vant of their sur­round­ings and reduce the use of elec­tronic de­vices as this neg­a­tively af­fects their state of alert­ness,” the NSSC said as it also mourned Fran­cis’ death.

I can’t un­der­stand how a 14-year-old boy is go­ing to be beaten, stabbed, and thrown off a bus in the pres­ence of adults.

I am try­ing to find an an­swer and there is none.

PHO­TOS BY JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Dor­raine Saun­ders (left) con­soles a griev­ing An­to­nio Christie at Ja­maica Col­lege yes­ter­day.

Ed­u­ca­tion Minister Ruel Reid speaks with griev­ing stu­dents.

Sixth-for­mer Naseem Mil­ton in grief.

A stu­dent in grief over his col­league, Nicholas Fran­cis.

JC Vice-prin­ci­pal An­nie Blake Wil­liams (left) con­soles teacher Michelle Brown af­ter she broke down yes­ter­day.

In­spec­tor Clau­dia Bai­ley-Find­layson (cen­tre) speaks to a stu­dent.

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