Holmwood principal laments stabbing incident on school compound

News post May 4, 2016

We are distressed!

 The entrance to Holmwood Technical High School campus in Manchester North Eastern.MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Principal of the Holmwood Technical High School, Paul Bailey, says the institution has been hit hard by an incident last month which has left two students facing charges of attempted murder and another nursing stab wounds.

“We are distressed about it. We are concerned that the indiscipline in the general society has filtered unto the school compound,” he said. Bailey said school administrators were told that the incident stemmed from bullying, with the grade nine student who was stabbed being the alleged bully. The teenagers charged for the stabbing are aged 16 and 15. They were reportedly granted bail in the sum of $700,000 each when they made their first appearance in the Juvenile Court in Porus, Manchester on April 28. According to Superintendent of the Manchester Police Division, Vendolyn Cameron-Powell, a condition of bail is that they cannot be seen on the Holmwood campus, and therefore will have to find a new school. Last year, Holmwood lost one student to the justice system and another through death when 18-year-old Devontae Sparks was charged for murder in relation to the stabbing death of grade nine student, Stephan Hanson, 16, during a dispute in Mandeville. Bailey told the Jamaica Observer Central that like many other institutions, Holmwood has a dean of discipline and the support of a school resource officer. However, he lamented that there are too many boys with no interest in school and who are from communities where ‘dons’ are seen as heroes. Bailey said Holmwood was involved in various strategies to build and maintain discipline. He said that the two guidance counsellors assigned to the school had been making extra effort and working beyond the call of duty, and senior teachers have been specifically assigned to assist in monitoring classes. Also, Holmwood is part of a Positive Behaviour Intervention Support Programme through the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, and there are sometimes special meetings to speak on issues with parents of students who are disruptive in particular. The Rotary Club of Christiana gives assistance to many students struggling with reading, in order to boost their ability to function and focus in the education system. A reflective Bailey was hopeful that there will be some good as a result of the recent stabbing at Holmwood. “We are hoping that the other students will learn something from this very unfortunate incident,” he said. Challenges with youth have been on the Manchester Police radar recently. At a town hall meeting in Mandeville on Thursday, organised by the Manchester Co-operative Credit Union, the parish’s police chief urged parents to be observant. “I have over 20 juveniles before the court because our children are doing a lot of things. Most of the times it is the police who bring it to your (parents) attention. You have to spy on the children – nothing is wrong with that … You have to make sure you are aware,” said Superintendent Cameron-Powell.

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