Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
Amid the mayhem in his west Kingston community of Denham Town, 11-year-old Tavin Morris showed up for school on Tuesday bearing a pre-Valentine's gift for his principal which appeared to be an indictment on the area he calls home.
Tavin surprised Marjorie Hudson with a framed inscription as she made her way to her office at St Alban's Primary School, days after four persons were killed and at least three others injured as guns continued to bark in the troubled community.
"You are my dream come true. Without you, life will be incomplete," read a section of the inscription.
While revealing that he has witnessed the violence, the sixth-grader, neatly dressed in khaki pants, white shirt and blue tie, could not find the words to explain his feelings.
"Mi nuh know how mi feel 'cause mi nuh know if it a go happen again," Tavin told The Gleaner when our news team visited the community yesterday.
Tavin was one of hundreds of students from three primary schools in the area - St Alban's, St Anne's and Denham Town - who showed up for classes yesterday.
School administrators at Denham Town Primary said the violence has had little to no impact on students there, particularly those preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), while the principal of St Anne's Primary refused to comment.
But Hudson indicated that the shootings, including a prolonged exchange between the police and gunmen on Monday, have had "a great impact" on her students.
"They are not coming out (to school) for safety reasons. And even when they do, most times they fear that their relatives are going to be hurt in these incidents," she reasoned.
"The students were reacting (to Tuesday's shooting incident) and we had to be calming them down," she added.
The St Alban's principal asserted that the violence would also affect the preparations of the students who are going to sit the GSAT or the numeracy and literacy tests later this year.
Last year, St Alban's scored 48 per cent for the Grade Four Literacy Test and just under 40 per cent for the numeracy test, but Hudson said the school is targeting a 60 per cent score for both tests this year.
Consequently, she said the school has put several initiatives in place to better assist students, but emphasised that more parents will have to get involved in their children's education.