In notoriously homophobic Jamaica gay men can hardly expect protection even from their parents - as was made very clear yesterday.
A father, concerned that his son might be gay, turned up at the Dunoon Park Technical High School in east Kingston and apparently encouraged other students to beat the boy, an eleventh grader.
"Them bruck up desk and bench and beat him up badly," one Dunoon student told the Observer. "Him get nuff lick, box, kick and thump from boy and girl."
The boy's name was withheld by school officials and the extent of his injuries was not immediately known. But whatever they were, it would have been worse were it not for the intervention of ancillary staff.
According to students and teachers at the school, the boy's father apparently found pictures of nude men in the boy's school bag.
Infuriated, he turned up at the school yesterday with the pictures and encouraged the mob to turn on his son. As students began to maul his son, the man is reported to have driven away.
In the frenzy, students hurled stones at police who were called to the school to restore order, in the process damaging police cars and motorbikes. The police eventually were able to rescue the youngster from the other students, most of whom wore uniforms, and whisked him off the campus.
According to a teacher at the school, people from outside the school joined in the fracas.
"They were intent on killing him," this teacher said. "They were like a pack of wild animals who had smelled blood and if it wasn't for a staff member who jumped on top of him, you would be reporting on a mob killing."
The teacher described the behaviour of the student's father as "careless".
"A me save him," an ancillary staff member told the Observer. "Me have to jump on him and shield him cause them was going to kill him. Me get a whole heap of licks, but me push him in the office and lock him in."
School authorities were forced to call the Elletson Road police to escort the boy off the compound when the angry mob became uncontrollable.
But the cops were also attacked, leaving some with minor injuries. After calm was restored, at least a dozen Dunoon students were taken to the Elletson Road police station where they were given a stern warning by officers from the station's Criminal Investigation Bureau before being released.
"We went to the school to calm down a situation and protect the students and they turn around and fling stones on us," an Elletson Road police office complained. "What has the society come to?"
The parent who has been accused of ordering the students to maul his son, reportedly drove away from the school as soon as the fracas started.