What really happened?
Education Minister Fayval Williams has requested additional information on the collapse at school and subsequent death of a grade three student at Wakefield Primary and Infant School in Trelawny on Tuesday.
Eight-year-old Alexia Drummond was reportedly seen unresponsive on the floor by her classroom teacher after the lunch break and was taken to a nearby health facility and then to hospital by school personnel. She was later declared dead.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has traumatised Alexia’s family, classmates, and the wider school community,” Williams said as she declared that more information is needed.
Williams also urged school personnel, parents, and all who have duty of care of children to be watchful for any early signs of health challenges.
Alexia was described as a quiet, diligent student by her classroom teacher.
The minister also noted that the ministry’s team of guidance counsellors has started offering support and counselling to the family and school team.
On Thursday, the Jamaica Observer reported Alexia’s class teacher’s painful account of the tragedy.
The teacher, Sheryl Chisholm, had recounted that shortly after resumption of classes following the lunch break on Tuesday she was walking through the class while reviewing a lesson when she spotted the eight-year-old slumped on the floor, unresponsive.
“While in the class I was going over a topic which I did before lunch. I realised that some of the students did not fully grasp the lesson, [so] before I decided to move on I decided, ‘Let me review what I did,’ so I went to the chalkboard — everyone was seated — and started reviewing.
“I don’t know if it’s God who sent me to walk to her side first so when I reached up I saw her on the ground. I said, ‘Alexia, why are you lying on the ground?’ I did not hear her respond, so I said, ‘Get up, Alexia,’ [and] she did not move, so I bent over where I saw her on the ground. Vomit was on the ground,” the teacher said.
“So I grabbed her quickly and shouted for the other teacher and he came, and we lifted her up and we went to the staff room. Other teachers came and we rushed [her] to the Wakefield Medical Centre with a vice-principal and a caregiver, then to Falmouth Public General Hospital, [and] from Falmouth to Cornwall Regional Hospital. The guidance counsellor went with them,” recounted Chisholm.
She told the Observer that it was the first in her 25 years in the classroom that she had ever experienced such tragedy.
Family and other stakeholders are awaiting the result of a post-mortem to determine the cause of Alexia’s death.