A UNITED STAND

Sup­port grows for JC’s protest against vi­o­lence

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

As par­ents, we are very con­cerned about our chil­dren. The boys are in fear and we need to fix that.

SUP­PORT FOR a peace­ful demon­stra­tion planned for Mon­day by the Ja­maica Col­lege (JC) Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion (PTA) has grown rapidly, and the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent, Er­rol Holmes, has in­di­cated that the event will demon­strate that vi­o­lence against the na­tion’s chil­dren will not be tol­er­ated in any way.

The demon­stra­tion is be­ing planned on the heels of Wed­nes­day’s killing of 14-year-old JC third-form stu­dent Ni­cholas Fran­cis. Fran­cis was stabbed to death by a man at­tempt­ing to rob him on a Coaster bus near the school’s gate on Old Hope Road in St An­drew.

“I am amazed! It (the sup­port) is just mush­room­ing,” Holmes told The Gleaner yes­ter­day.

In­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­u­als have pledged their sup­port for the planned demon­stra­tion and will ei­ther par­tic­i­pate in the ac­tiv­ity on Mon­day, or will host sim­i­lar ac­tiv­i­ties to co­in­cide with the time of the JC demon­stra­tion.

PROTEST THEME

“The theme of this protest is: ‘We Are Against Vi­o­lence To­wards All Chil­dren’,” Holmes told The Gleaner yes­ter­day.

“I just got a mes­sage from Sts Peter and Paul (Prepara­tory School). They have de­cided that they are go­ing to have their stu­dents (stand in) line in front of Cam­pion Col­lege on Mon­day in sol­i­dar­ity with us. St An­drew High School’s PTA pres­i­dent just called me and said that they are go­ing to be unit­ing with us and they will be com­ing. The Na­tional Par­en­tTeacher As­so­ci­a­tion will also be join­ing us,” Holmes said.

He added that Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Julian Robin­son and hu­man-rights ac­tivist Betty-Ann Blaine will also be part of the silent demon­stra­tion.

“We plan to start at 7 o’clock and the idea is that we are go­ing to stretch in black (cloth­ing) from the en­trance of the gate of Ja­maica Col­lege all the way down to Ravinia. It’s go­ing to be a silent protest. We are go­ing to have sev­eral chil­dren out there, in­di­cat­ing that we want to take back our coun­try [and] we are against vi­o­lence against our chil­dren. We are go­ing be hav­ing slo­gans that speak to some as­pect of our an­them, like teach us true re­spect for all,” Holmes ex­plained. The ac­tiv­ity is ex­pected to end by 8 a.m.

JC STU­DENTS PAR­TIC­I­PA­TION

JC stu­dents will be a part of the demon­stra­tion, but, for the most part, they will stand along the in­side of the school’s fenc­ing in an or­derly man­ner. They will be sep­a­rated in classes and will stand at at­ten­tion in hon­our of Fran­cis.

Par­ents par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ac­tiv­i­ties will also be seg­mented into groups.

Father Michael Allen, the chap­lain of JC, will be of­fer­ing prayers for the school fam­ily.

“As par­ents, we are very con­cerned about our chil­dren. The boys are in fear and we need to fix that. We want the Govern­ment to se­ri­ously con­sider putting in place a mech­a­nism that will help with the safe trans­porta­tion of our chil­dren be­fore and af­ter school. We are pre­pared to sit with the Govern­ment to see how best some­thing like that can be eco­nomic for us,” Holmes said.

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