‘Why, Javead? Why?’
Teachers, peers reeling in shock after student’s tragic death
A deep pall of sadness hung over Central High School in Clarendon yesterday as teachers and colleagues of 16-year-old Javead Moodie reeled from the anguish of the tragic passing of the grade 11A student on the weekend.
Reports are that while his brother, who is a police officer, was having a bath at their Halse Hall home after returning from work on Saturday, Javead took up the cop’s firearm, which was resting on his clothes, and went into his room.
A loud explosion then alerted his brother to what was happening.
Javead, who was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, reportedly died in his brother’s arms on the way to the hospital.
Amid the grief, one question echoed throughout his alma mater yesterday: Why?
“Why? Why? He had so much to live for. I never saw this one coming,” were the anguished words from Javead’s social studies teacher Joan Williams.
Describing him as a “role model” student, Williams said he was very mature and respectful.
Their last encounter was on Friday, when Javead handed in a draft of his school-based assessment (SBA) paper – a well-written paper on the pros and cons of online learning.
“He was smiling. There was no sign that he would have done that. He is soft-spoken, participate well, and is always smiling. He interacts with his classmates … ,” Williams said, her voice trailing off as she once again tried to control her emotions.
Standing as his information technology teacher Samantha Allen cried softly against his shoulder, Jeffrey Hall tried to pay tribute to his best friend.
Overcome with emotion as she shook his head, when he eventually spoke, he, too, voiced the big question: “Why?”
Pointing out that he could not see how he would overcome the tragedy, Jeffrey said there were no signs that his friend needed any assistance.
Central High Principal Stellavit Ingram, who was also still in shock, said that the incident was an indication that sometimes one does not know what others are going through.
He remembered Javead as a promising young man, who, based on what he had seen, had everything going for him.
“He was doing well. He would have completed all his SBAs. Teachers have high praises for him. He would have been communicating well with his peers, very mannerly, unassuming, but an excellent student. He is an ideal student,” Ingram told The Gleaner, adding that a review of the late student’s reports showed that at one point, he placed third in his class.
Bishop Vernon Morrison, pastor of Rocky Settlement New Testament Church of God and principal of the Kemps Hill High School, was on hand counselling the students and encouraging them to discuss any issues bothering them and vent their feelings.
“I know what’s happening. A tragedy like this leaves the house grieving in pain and in sorrow and needs help, so I come here to bring myself to motivate and encourage someone to overcome,” said Morrison, who has also worked as a guidance counsellor for more than a decade.
Morrison said that with the pandemic presenting a challenge to mental health, it is important to be there for others, helping them through every situation.
“The time we’re living in is placing pressure on everyone, and it’s coming from right, left and centre. We don’t plan for it, but it happening. I have never seen any time like this. These are troubling times, and whatever help we can give, let us be that answer to prayer,” he said.
Deputy Superintendent Anton-Gur Cardoza, head of operations in the Clarendon Police Division, has cautioned against labelling the incident a “straight-up suicide” at this point in time.
“ ... It could very well be that this person was playing around with the firearm. You don’t know,” Cardoza said.
When The Gleaner visited the family home, relatives were still reeling from shock.
He said that the elder brother (cop) has been a father figure to his younger siblings.
“A daddy the younger one call him, so yuh must know. Dat deh man work hard fi dem. Luxury. Dem nuh know struggles,” the relative said, adding that the situation was devastating for the elder brother.
“A pon the ground him lay down a hospital a say him nuh know wah him never do,” he said of the brother’s reaction the night of the tragedy.
– Olivia Brown contributed to this story.