A mother's grief!
Parent of slain KT student finding it hard to cope with daughter's schoolyard killing
A grief stricken Vanessa Clarke, mother of Michion Campbell, the teen who was stabbed to death at the Kingston Technical High School on Thursday by another student. (Photo: Joseph wellington)

VANESSA Clarke, mother of Michion Campbell, the grade 11 Kingston Technical High School who was stabbed to death by another pupil at her school on Thursday, was inconsolable when police handed her a ziplock bag on Friday containing her daughter's cellphone and other personal items.

Clarke squeezed the bag tightly in both hands, then closed her eyes as she lifted it to her chin and sobbed profusely.

Police personnel from the Kingston Central Division as well as the Kingston East Community Safety and Security Branch, visited Clarke at home in Nine Miles in Bull Bay, St Andrew, to offer emotional support. But no amount of comforting words seemed to be able to ease the pain caused by the loss of Clarke's beloved "baby".

The female student, who is accused of the schoolyard murder, was taken into police custody Thursday evening.

Vanessa Clarke, mother of Michion Campbell, places a hand on her head while being consoled by members of the Kingston Central Police Division and the Community Safety and Security branch of the Kingston East Police, Friday.. (Photo: Joseph wellington)

"She grabbed my baby and my baby couldn't do nothing. She grabbed her and stab stab her," Clarke said as she recalled the images from video footage of incident.

"Mi nuh know wah mi a guh do without her. Mi can't do without her."

As if to add salt to her wounds, Clarke said her cellular phone has been ringing off the hook with people who have been relaying social media comments to her regarding the incident.

"People keep calling me and telling me what they are seeing on social media. The problem I have with social media is the people saying that my daughter was fighting over a man. My baby was not interested in anything like that," she insisted.

"Don't follow social media. What I want you to do is get something warm in your stomach and stay strong. Don't go on social media and watch what the people are saying. You knew your child. The dean of discipline at her school said he lost one of his good students, so don't pay them any mind," said one of the cops.

Residents of Bull Bay shared good memories they had of Campbell and condemned her murder, labelling it a "wicked act".

Phyllis Rowe, an elderly woman in the community, recalled that Campbell "was a nice girl".

"She walk past every morning to go to school and she is quiet. I don't know her as any warrior and I can't tell you anything bad about her. It surprised me to know that is she got killed," Rowe told the Jamaica Observer.

And a a male resident said he always admired how much care and compassion Michion showed to her younger siblings, whether or not her mother was present.

"She takes good care of her little sister and brother dem."

Thursday's incident badly impacted the student turnout on Friday. The school, assisted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, flooded the institution with grief counsellors to provide support for the children — especially the classmates and close friends of Campbell.

"Tell mi weh she deh, show mi har," a classmate of Campbell said Friday morning as she cried.

The school's principal, Maulton Campbell, denied that the institution has a security challenge, pointing out that the students are searched when they arrive at school. However, Maulton said he will be working with other stakeholders to beef up security.

"This is a very large campus and of course there are students from the area. There are outside external influences but of course we are working with the police and the security companies we have hired, and they will do a full review. They will guide us as to what else we can put in place to ensure that our school is more secure. Our procedures are reviewed regularly and we ensure that our students are searched coming into the school."

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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