AN argument between two female high school students, over what was said to be gossip, turned fatal on Thursday afternoon, leaving their schoolmates in shock and triggering a call for social workers to give more attention to children and their parents.
Kingston Technical High School grade 11 student Michion Campbell was stabbed during a heated argument on the school compound.
The accused was taken into police custody.
A classmate of both the deceased and the accused told the Jamaica Observer that what started out as "cussing" quickly spiralled out of control.
"Everybody was trying to hold the two of them. The girl drag out the ratchet knife from under her uniform and stab her. Somebody was trying to resuscitate her while she was on the ground. I saw her take her last breath," the student related.
Another student said that she was at the school to do a diagnostic test to enter sixth form and was traumatised, having witnessed the tragedy.
"Dem start cuss over hearsay. Both of them were using expletives. After the test I heard noise. Michion said to the other girl, 'You can't do me nothing.' Michion's friends told her to walk away and grabbed her hand, but she flashed out of the grip and went up in the girl's face. Di girl flick out a knife and start stab her in the neck and head.
"Michion was gasping badly for air. Her hands got stiff and her eyes rolled over while her tongue stuck out of her head. The sight of it made me feel bad. I cried even though I don't even know the girl. A pure wickedness gwaan. It was heartless. A soldier had to drag her off of Michion. If he didn't do that, she would still be stabbing the girl on the ground. After the stabbing, she was laughing as if it was funny when she just took someone's life," the student stated.
A resident of the Rose Gardens community, otherwise known as Spoilers, where the school is located, was angry about the incident. She said that many of the children nowadays are too vicious and display violent behaviour at the slightest of provocation.
"Jesus Christ! I saw her come out with bad man walk and she a huff and puff. She did well blood up," said the resident.
Tracyann Taffe-Thompson, president of the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education, believes that schools, especially those in volatile communities, need properly functioning metal detectors. However, that, she stressed, would be only a part of the solution.
Taffe-Thompson said the time has also come for Jamaica to tackle the root causes of violence, and called for more social workers to be dispatched in communities.
"This untimely death has caused us shock. It goes to show what is happening in our communities and in the minds of the young people. Our youth are crying out for help and they need social intervention. We can't continue to turn a blind eye to the needs of students, especially in the various volatile communities," she stressed.
"I believe they are learning certain behaviours from their communities; they are not picking it up from school. There needs to be serious social intervention in the communities and to see how best we can spread the word of peace and conflict resolution," Taffe-Thompson suggested.
"I extend condolences. To the victim's family, there is nothing I can say to offer comfort to them. I am sure at the moment they are in shock. For the perpetrator, I am sure her family is also in shock. I extend condolences," Taffe-Thompson added.