Wed | Jun 26, 2019

Educator slain on Teachers’ Day

Published:Thursday | May 9, 2019 | 12:16 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
JTA President Garth Anderson:  “We have to ... take a stand against those who are bringing harm to those we love.”
JTA President Garth Anderson: “We have to ... take a stand against those who are bringing harm to those we love.”

A day used to celebrate the nation’s teachers turned from joy to sorrow as the school community mourned the shooting death of educator Clevon Campbell at his Portmore, St Catherine, home in the wee hours of Teachers’ Day yesterday.

Campbell was at home at about 3:15 a.m. when armed men broke into his house and opened fire, hitting him and a teenage relative, the police reported.

Both of them were reportedly taken to the hospital, where Campbell was pronounced dead and the teenager admitted in serious condition.

Roy John-Keith, principal of the Belmont Park Primary School where Campbell had been teaching since September 2018, said the school has been plunged into mourning.

“You can expect that the majority of staff and students who interacted with him were overwhelmed with grief, but good thing we had the Ministry (of Education) trauma team here ... so we were able to catch the students as they come in,” John-Keith said yesterday in an interview with The Gleaner.

“There was overwhelming support from the PTA executive. Parents came by, even students who he had interacted with from schools, some of those students came by also,” he added.

The principal described Campbell as “very committed to his job, very passionate about teaching. He was somebody who was always willing to serve”.

Also singing Campbell’s praises was councillor for the Bridgeport division, Kenord Grant, who said his death was a great loss to the community.

“He has a business that he operates from home in terms of books. He would sell books and stationery ... to the students at a very low and competitive price, and that is one thing that they (will) miss.

“But most critical is his participation in providing PEP (Primary Exit Profile) classes for students from his community. Additionally, he operates a summer camp that they would come and participate in. Last time, he had about 100 children, and this year, we were anticipating that it would be far much bigger,” Grant said.

Jamaica Teachers’ Association President Dr Garth Anderson has also lamented Campbell’s killing.

“We want to express condolences to his immediate family and indeed the school family and call on the authorities to do all that they can so that those who are responsible for the death are brought to justice,” Anderson told The Gleaner last night.

He added: “... I think, as a society, we have to come together to take a stand against those who are bringing harm to those we love and to seriously work with the authorities to find justice in these times of great pain and suffering, but we in the JTA are very much saddened by what is happening, this attack on the teaching profession,” Anderson lamented.

The Portmore Criminal Investigations Branch has said that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com