Sun | May 16, 2021

Golding describes attack on teacher as despicable

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 12:12 AM
Opposition Leader Mark Golding addresses teachers at the Four Path Primary and Junior High School when he visited last Thursday to express his condolence at the death of grade-three teacher, Nattalie Dawkins.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding addresses teachers at the Four Path Primary and Junior High School when he visited last Thursday to express his condolence at the death of grade-three teacher, Nattalie Dawkins.

Staff members at the Four Paths Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon are still trying to come to grips with the gruesome murder of their colleague, grade-three teacher Nattalie Dawkins.

Dawkins’ body was exhumed from a shallow grave in Sandy Bay in the parish on April 8, nine days after she went missing.

Last Thursday, Opposition Leader Mark Golding visited the institution to which Dawkins had given over two decades of service. He described the attack on the educator as despicable and depraved.

“We are all badly impacted by our understanding of what took place with Nattalie Dawkins. My understanding is that Nattalie was a quiet and much loved member of staff. She was a dedicated teacher, and I can only wonder in this time of COVID and the pandemic when online learning is the order of the day, how the students will be impacted by this,” he said.

Two men have since been arrested and charged in connection with the educator’s murder.

“At least that brings some form of almost closure in the sense that persons will be held accountable for this,” Golding said.

GRATEFUL FOR SUPPORT

Principal at the school, Rose-Marie Logan, said it is a very difficult and painful time for the staff. Amid the grief, however, she said her team is encouraged by the support extended to them.

“We are grateful for all the support we have been receiving. As a school, we feel that we are not alone. This show of solidarity and the number of persons who have been reaching out to us locally and abroad, have warmed our hearts. We are also mindful that persons right across Jamaica and overseas are praying for us, and for our strength,” Logan said.

“Our parents are devastated because Nattalie would have touched everybody’s lives. Our students are grieving. I was in a session just this week where the Ministry of Education engaged them in grief counselling and when I sat into that session, my heart was broken all over again when I listened to how my students described Miss Dawkins. I remember one student said, ‘She was such a sweet soul; she would not even harm a fly and why Miss Dawkins’. They are grieving, their hearts are torn,” she said.

Logan lauded the police for their work in apprehending those suspected of being responsible for Dawkins’ killing.

“Nattalie was so kind and giving and so helpful when she was alive, and even in her death she’s helping somebody, because I am thinking with those persons behind bars, there are some families who would have been mourning if the police did not capture those men. These guys were on the run. They were just doing stuff and killing people, but with Nattalie’s death, it could not go down like this. Some family members would have been saved with these hoodlums behind bars,” said Logan.

Golding, who also visited Dawkins’ family, said he is imploring the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to continue offering psycho-social support to the staff at Four Path Primary and Junior High School.