Teachers and students went to the Lluidas Vale Primary School in St Catherine in shock and grief this morning, March 2, placing flowers on desks once occupied in separate classrooms by two male students whose lives were snuffed out hours after school dismissed yesterday.
The students killed when they were hit from a bicycle about 4pm in Lluidas Vale are 10-year-old Domonic Slue and 12-year-old Raldon Ramsey, both from a section of the community known as Camp.
The boys were riding a bicycle down a hill when it collided with a bus, which was heading uphill towards a district known as Top Hill.
“The bicycle belongs to Raldon’s father; it broke in two,” one resident said.
Raldon, who was preparing to sit his Grade Six Achievement Test this month, died on the spot.
The younger boy died while undergoing treatment at Linstead Hospital, St Catherine.
There has been no word from the police and Minister of Education Ruel Reid regarding the tragedy.
But a trauma team from the education ministry visited the school today to counsel staff and students.
Principal at Lluidas Vale Primary Uevlyn Barrett-Rose said a number of persons wept openly, and students were allowed to vent.
Many of the students wrote notes that were posted on a notice board in the schoolyard.
“When we came to school this morning, some persons were crying. Some of the students went down [to the accident scene yesterday] and saw the body on the ground. By 9am today, the trauma team from the Ministry of Education came and we had devotion in a general way and then we break up into groups.
“The teachers got counselling from about three persons. One of the fathers [whose child died] was here at the school and we were able to counsel him as well,” the principal explained.
“While we started out on a very sad note and crying, the day ended a little bit better because we were able to relate to what happened. We are still sad, but still feeling much better emotionally.”
The principal also spoke highly of both boys, who Jamaica Beacon understands usually travel home from school together.
“Both of the boys; I never had the need to reprimand them for anything that was done; they were never taken to the office by the teachers for me to have to counsel them.”
“Raldon [who is the elder of the two boys] was a happy-go-lucky child – always smiling; very pleasant. Domonic wouldn’t pass a teacher and not say ‘good morning’. He had a very shy smile about himself. He had his challenges, but he never allowed them to get him down to the point where he was frustrated and angry. So, both boys were pretty much good behaving students.”
The principal further stated that the incident affected persons deeply particularly because Lluidas Vale, located in rural Jamaica, is not accustomed to such tragedy.
“You hear of these things happening out there; you would never expect that it would come right in your lap. And so, while you are always sympathizing with the persons out there, the sympathies didn’t run deep. There is going to be a difference now when you hear of these things happening to others, because now you have been there, done that. You know what it is. One death is bad enough, but two is very hard,” the Lluidas Vale Primary principal further told Jamaica Beacon.
Meanwhile, Councillor for the Lluidas Vale Division Hugh Graham, who visited the bereaved relatives yesterday and the school today, stated that he is deeply saddened.
“I’m deeply saddened by the tragedy that struck in the Lluidas Vale community. I want to take the time to express my deepest condolences to the grieving families. Please remember you are not alone as we the community members are always here for you to surround you with love during this difficult time. My heart is saddened by your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you,” Graham said.
By Horace Mills