Jamaica Observer / ANCHOVY, St James — Students and teachers of the Anchovy Primary School cried openly yesterday, one day after a grade two student died on the school compound when he was hit by a motor car driven by a female teacher. The deceased has been identified as seven-year-old Easton Stapleton Jnr, who resided at Bellefield, Cambridge, St James.
“As you can see for yourselves we are all in mourning,” said grief-stricken acting principal, Cheryl Grant Mitchell
Yesterday, the impact of the trauma forced the suspension of classes for the almost 1,000 students.
According to Grant Mitchell, the bizarre accident occurred about 3:50 pm Tuesday after classes were dismissed for the day.
The teacher was allegedly reversing the motor car which hit the grade two student before slamming into a wall.
A vendor on the road outside the school was also allegedly injured after he was struck in the head by a piece of concrete material which flew off when the vehicle rammed into the wall.
The driver reportedly ran from the vehicle and collapsed on the ground near the administrative offices where she had to be assisted by other staff members.
“When I came out here I saw the teacher laying here and was crying. A child came around and announced that a car had hit the child and the teacher did not know. She knew the car hit the wall so she ran out of the vehicle,” Grant Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer.
The Observer was told that the teacher was so traumatised by the accident that she has been in and out of consciousness.
At the same time, Easton Stapleton, Snr, said he was fighting to come to grips with the loss of his only child.
“What happened yesterday (Tuesday) I can’t understand because when I heard and when I come up here I expected to see the accident on the main road. I didn’t expect to see an accident like that in the school yard. It has left me baffled and feeling numb, left to wonder where can you send your kids [and expect them to be safe],” the distressed father remarked.
He added: “Maybe cars need to be parked outside of the school grounds if it’s so dangerous inside the school property. Moreover, they have a kindergarten school on the property, and more than one child could have been affected by the accident.”
Speaking to parents, teachers and other school stakeholders yesterday, Deputy Superintendent of Police Angela McIntosh Gayle appealed to parents to be supportive of their children.
“At this moment we are imploring parents and guardians to just stay calm and show the children love. Rally around the school body to help them go through this hard time,” she implored.
Apart from the police, other groups on hand to lend support to the school population included: Peace Management Initiative; Jamaica Teachers’ Association; National Parent-Teacher Association; a group of pastors from the community; Ministry of Education personnel; the guidance unit from the Ministry of Education, teachers from neighbouring Anchovy High School, among others.
Class teacher Veronica Collins said her late student loved mathematics and was a jovial child.
“Easton was a loving, playful, happy student, always willing to go to the extra mile to make sure his classmates are well taken care of. If there is anything you need, you can rely on Easton to get it done for you,” a teary-eyed Collins noted.
The boy’s father also described his son as “smart, fun-loving and one who likes to play”.