LETTER OF THE DAY - End twin tragedy blame game
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The lives of the nine-year-old twins, Brandon and Brayden Jones, were lost in Montego Bay in what was an unfortunate situation. Instead of trying to support the grieving family and show some empathy, a number of persons are playing the blame game.
They point fingers at the school principal, security personnel and teachers of Green Pond Primary (all who inevitably blame themselves and each other and those in higher places like the Government) for the untimely twin tragedy. This is Jamaica, and it seems that when anything goes wrong, the first stops pulled result in blaming the teachers.
The rain came down in torrents on the day the twins would lose their lives. Rivers, gutters and the streets were in spate, but because time doesn't stand still, school had to be dismissed. If it had rained into the wee hours of the following morning, were teachers and principal expected to remain at school with the students? Is it being taken for granted that teachers have children they need to pick up, too? That teachers have their families to attend to?
Reports are that the principal did not ring the bell. However, the teachers dismissed the students anyway. The class teacher allegedly asked the twins to remain in class, but they left, despite her request. Will the children, too, be blamed for their disobedience?
The fact is, children will be children; boys will be boys. They may have been curious to explore the puddles. Who knows? But other students were headed home, too, yet there were only two casualties. It is unfortunate that one of the twins fell in a nearby gutter (the circumstances of this fall is unclear) and his brother, in an attempt to rescue him, fell in, too.
The next morning, their battered bodies were found in the harbour near the Dump Up Beach. Reality kicks in and the grieving escalates, then angry residents, parents and other relatives conclude that, if the school officials had assessed the situation, the twins would still be alive today.
But where were these family members and relatives when school was dismissed? Were they unaware of the inclement weather? Were students to be kept at school until their family members arrived? Or were the children trusted to make their own judgement and find their way home? How does throwing blame at this point alter the reality?
Undoubtedly, this blame game is childish, senseless, counterproductive and ineffective. The game-changer would be a sensible and practical approach to put measures in place in an effort to prevent a similar situation from recurring. Someone should assess the drains, meet with parents and teachers, then come to a decision about how children will arrive home in the case of heavy rains and other natural disasters.