Education official urges parents to protect children
Amid recent reports of children falling victim to crime and violence in western Jamaica, Dr Michelle Pinnock, the regional director of the Ministry of Education's Region Four, is calling on parents to be vigilant in protecting their children.
Pinnock made the appeal while delivering the keynote address at the valedictory service for Mt Alvernia Preparatory School's graduating class of 2018 held at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Montego Bay on Sunday.
"Parents, understand that these graduates are children, and they will be children even at the end of high school. Protect them, or myself and the Child Development Agency (now Child Protection and Family Services Agency) will be coming for them," Pinnock warned parents.
"Protect our children, especially those in western Jamaica, because whenever you see something happening in St James, Hanover or Westmoreland [which fall under the education ministry's Region Four], it's on my head. I beg of you, protect your children," Pinnock implored the gathering.
"Monitor them, and take their phones from them sometimes. Decide if they are ready to go on social media, and if they are going on, I ask you to, please, monitor their postings and interactions."
Earlier this year, 14-year-old Tianna Clarke's partially nude body was found with wounds to her head in an abandoned house in Granville, St James, after she failed to return home from an errand at a nearby shop.
On April 25, seven-year-old Jayanna Coote and her four-year-old sister Shanique Coote were chopped to death in Green Island, Hanover, along with their pregnant mother, 38-year-old Abanique Cunningham. This followed an alleged dispute between Cunningham and the children's father.
Days later, on May 1, 12-year-old Nicoy Bourne and his mother, 39-year-old Nadine Rowe, were among seven persons who were shot dead during a bloody rampage by gunmen in Grange Hill, Westmoreland.