A united stand - Support grows for JC's protest against violence
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.
"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 Parent-Teacher 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.