Mon | Oct 14, 2019

‘Teachers under attack’ - Colleagues mourn loss of ‘perfect educator’ as gunmen kill Bishop Gibson High teacher

Published:Thursday | July 11, 2019 | 12:19 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Davis-Campbell
Davis-Campbell

Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Dr Garth Anderson yesterday lamented an “attack on the teaching profession” following the early morning murder of 43-year-old Bishop Gibson High School teacher Carolyn Davis-Campbell at her Manchester home.

“We are in a sad mood at this time. She is somebody I knew personally. We were at college together, so it has a very personal impact on me. She is somebody I spoke to regularly as she was my batch mate at Church Teachers’ College,” Anderson told The Gleaner yesterday. “It is hurting to know that persons like us who make sacrifices for society, somebody can just come and take your life like that.”

Police reports were that the educator was at Melrose Mews, home with her husband, when noise was heard just outside the dwelling sometime after midnight. A short moment later, a gunman reportedly kicked in a door to the house.

The police said that the victim’s husband told them that he was awakened from sleep when his bedroom door was kicked in. He reportedly rolled from the bed as a gunman fired several shots. He subsequently discovered that his wife had been shot. The husband escaped injury.

Anderson, who will soon vacate his post as JTA president, yesterday bemoaned the recent cases of schoolchildren and educators falling victims to violence.

He said the profession was under attack from every angle because “when our children are maimed and killed, teachers are hurt, and when you hurt our teachers, the entire profession is hurting”.

He added: “We cannot continue to get these kinds of attacks on our teaching profession. In general, apart from these attacks on our colleagues, I am also very concerned about the general state of crime and violence in the society. We have to start galvanising ourselves against those who do harm. ... We no longer can tolerate this kind of carnage and the level of cruelty that is happening.”

Bishop Gibson High School principal Donna Ledgister-Hendricks said Davis-Campbell, who had a “perfect record”, was an excellent educator who could be relied on for anything.

“She was very enthusiastic. She was teaching human and social biology and general science at Bishop Gibson since 2014, from first to fifth form. She was a dedicated, hard-working and committed educator,” the principal told The Gleaner yesterday. “She went beyond the call of duty to ensure the students succeeded. She was engaged actively in the total development of the school. She was an integral part of the co-curricular activities. She was one of the advisers to the Police Youth Club that was recently installed at the school. She was a fourth-form teacher who was the school’s assistant JTA contact.”

Added Ledgister-Hendricks: “She was never late and had a perfect record. She oftentimes came to me as principal to find out if there was anything I needed help with. Jamaica has lost a perfect educator.”

Some attacks on teachers reported by The Gleaner since March 2019

• In March of this year, Calabar High School physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw went public with reports that he was allegedly assaulted by top athletes at the school on December 15, 2018.

Shaw said that the attack happened after an argument over cots as he hosted a camp for his students to prepare for their upcoming exams.

• Samuel Martin, a 41-year-old St Joseph’s Teachers’ College lecturer, went missing on Good Friday, April 19. After days of searching, his body was found on April 25 in bushes in the Juno Crescent section of May Pen, Clarendon, with the hands and feet bound.

• On Teachers’ Day, May 8, 35-year-old grade six Belmont Park Primary School schoolteacher Clevon Campbell and a teenage boy were shot at their house in Bridgeport, St Catherine. Armed men broke into their house at about 3:15 a.m. and shot Campbell and the teenager before making their escape. Campbell later died.

• A grade four teacher at Ramble Primary School in Manchester was allegedly chopped several times by her common-law-husband at their home in Mandeville on May 29. Eight-month-old Roshane McPherson was also chopped in the incident and later died.

• Thirty-three-year-old Innswood High School science teacher Salomie Plummer was shot and killed along with her 35-year-old sister, Simona Plummer, on June 9 after gunmen gained entry to their home on Keats Avenue in Duhaney Park, St Andrew.

• Heather Reid-Johnson, the principal of St Hilda’s Diocesan High School in Brown’s Town, St Ann, was treated in hospital after being chopped on the hand by a robber wearing a mask on the school compound on June 20. The intruder breached the security system on the compound of the all-girls, boarding institution.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com