Staff and students of Eagles Wings Preparatory School in Montego Bay yesterday began counselling to help them cope with Tuesday's bloody lunchtime brawl between a father and his teenage son, a graduate of the school.
"It traumatised everybody, traumatised everyone, parents also," the school's principal, Consuelo Ricketts, told the Jamaica Observer West yesterday from the private school in Bogue, on the outskirts of the western city.
"We have guidance counsellors from the Ministry of Education and Victim Support [Unit] just called me. Victim Support is going to provide counselling for my teachers," she said.
She was concerned that 30 of her 85 students who stayed away from school the day after the harrowing incident will miss out on getting the help they may need.
"I would have preferred them to be here to be party to the counselling," said Ricketts.
However, she was quick to point out that those at school appeared to have already put the incident behind them.
"The children running up and down and playing. I think they bounce back easier than adults but I understand with those that didn't come today," she added.
Her optimism is in stark contrast to the picture painted by a parent who took to social media Tuesday to lambast the school's handling of the incident. The parent alleged that, as requested by school officials, he went to the institution to get his five-year-old son.
"I left work to get my child, only to show up and see him shirtless as he was near the incident and his shirt was soaked in blood. There was blood in his ears [and] on his pants legs," said the post. "My son was traumatised by the situation and I am not sure if the person that was stabbed has any disease where my son might catch."
The parent laid the blame for his child's traumatic experience on the school's failure to secure the premises.
But Principal Ricketts stoutly defended the actions of the school's security guard who, she said, prevented the situation from escalating by confiscating the weapon used to wound the older man involved in the melee.
"I don't know how [the security guard] got the knife. The young man wasn't the aggressor, it was the father," she remarked.
According to the principal, little could have been done to prevent the incident, which was completely unexpected.
She said the teen graduate stops by from time to time and it was not uncommon for him to be on campus. His father also has two grandchildren attending the school. The older man had called her earlier in the day, she said, asking her to alert him if his son came to visit her as he often does. She did as he wished, not knowing the chain of events that would follow.
"When I called him, he said, 'Okay, I'm nearby, a soon come'. There was no way I could have known that he would do something like that," she insisted.
She said when the man first grabbed his son, she told him that behaviour was not allowed on school property and he exited.
"I told the son to go to him and he said no because of what he think was going to happen and then the father came back in," she recounted.
A knife came into play and the older man was stabbed during the tussle, allegedly by his son.
The wounded man has sought medical treatment and his son was taken into police custody.