JUNCTION, St Elizabeth — They are Jamaica’s real schoolboy heroes.
The quick thinking and swift action of a group of schoolboys from BB Coke High School here is being hailed far and wide for rescuing and moving — on foot — Jaheim Colman, 14, after he was beaten unconscious, allegedly by a grade 11 student for stepping on a shoe.
The group consisting mainly of three boys who lifted the injured child and walked about 500 metres from the school through the busy town of Junction to a doctor’s office last Thursday.
Dejaun Powell, 14, one of the three boys, told the Jamaica Observer that he rushed from his classroom to assist his friend upon seeing the brutal beating by the grade 11 student.
“He [Colman] was in the line collecting his phone, it was crowded, so he made a bad step on the boy’s shoes. A few seconds after he was falling he grabbed onto the attacker’s jacket and the boy turned around and seh, ‘A badness you a pree’ and he punched him. Jaheim fell and the boy was stepping in his face and neck,” said Powell.
“When I got down there I saw everybody videoing and we were saying ‘Jaheim, wake up,’ and he wasn’t responding. I had to move everybody out of the way and take him up, and I walked off with him,” added Powell.
He said two other students joined in assisting to move Colman.
“Khari and Dejaun [another student with the same name] gave me a hand when we were getting closer to Junction. Nobody [else] offered to help us; everybody was just asking ‘What happened?’ We brought him to the doctor and called his mother,” Powell told the Sunday Observer.
“When we got to the doctor’s office they took off his shoes and said we have to step outside.”
He said Colman became conscious at the doctor’s office, giving his friends the chance to request his mother’s number.
“When he got to talk [to him]we asked for her number, and she came with his aunt. They then took him to Mandeville [Regional] Hospital,” he said.
Powell explained that he became friends with Colman from grade seven to now, being in grade nine.
“When I saw him on the ground I was wondering if he was dead, because he wasn’t responding. I have known him since grade seven. He doesn’t give trouble; he is always giving joke. He doesn’t trouble anybody. I feel so sorry and sad for him. He could have lost his life,” Powell said.
His father, Romain Powell, said the courageous action of his son and other students was heroic.
“I feel good to know that he has a heart to get the youngster to the doctor. He is his friend,” the father said.
Colman’s aunt, Tameka Holness, commended the schoolboys.
“It is sad when we watched the video and saw the three boys carrying him through the town to the doctor. It is very heartbreaking. Those boys are heroes, and we want to thank them,” she said.
Colman’s mother, Shantel Gouldbourne, also expressed thanks to the schoolboys.
“Thanks to everyone for their prayers and all who reached out. Most of all, thanks to the three children who took my son to the doctor,” she said on Saturday at Mandeville Regional Hospital.
She said that following failed efforts to get a brain scan done in Mandeville, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton informed her of arrangements and her son was on Saturday transferred to University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Dr Tufton, in a post on X, formerly Twitter, confirmed that support is being given.
“This is most tragic and painful. Makes me very sad. Myself and the minister of education have been in touch with the mother of the child and the medical teams at Mandeville Regional and UHWI to give necessary support,” he said.
Holness questioned the lack of resources at the hospital.
“It is sad to know that in Mandeville there is a hospital and just to do a brain scan all the machines are down,” she said.
Gouldbourne said she is distraught and has lost her appetite.
“I keep on shaking. I haven’t eaten since the incident and I won’t eat until my son can eat,” she said.
On Saturday, chairman of BB Coke High Cetany Holness told the Sunday Observer that “heads are rolling” at the institution following the incident.
“We will be having a meeting with the security company in a view to find out how it is that something like that happened. It is placing the whole school administration in a bad light,” he said.
“Heads are rolling, because from all indications the security company fell down and did so very badly. Monday we will be having a meeting with the company and if we have to change them, then we will. You can’t have a situation where a child was hit down in your presence and then you are going to tell us that you ran to another fight and [yet] the major incident was right there and you never see. As chairman of the school I am very upset with what happened,” he said.
He said the school stands by Colman and his family.
“Whatever support that he needs, from the school’s perspective, we are going to give it,” emphasised the chairman.
On Friday, head of the St Elizabeth police, Acting Superintendent Coleridge Minto said the grade 11 student accused of the attack has been taken in to the police for questioning by his mother.