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Sep 28, 2017

Junior Collegians Call Out S.J.C., Skip Classes

On Wednesday, students from SJC JC took the streets in an impromptu protest seeking answers on the disappearance of a student of the premier institution.  It was a most significant event because it is generally perceived that there is apathy and indifference among students. Well, that protest was followed up this morning with a walkout from classrooms. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Shortly after nine a.m. today, students at SJC Junior College walked out of their classrooms all together in protest.  They were dissatisfied with the manner in which the school’s administration was handling the disappearance of Kelvin Usher.  The boycott resulted in a congregation inside the cafeteria where fellow students took turns addressing peers, as well as teachers.  The refusal to return to their classrooms ended with Kelvin’s mother being called in to persuade them that classes must go on.

 

Karima Williams

Karima Williams, Mother of Kelvin Usher

“From since Monday, the dean, everybody has been calling me. They told me that today the school is having a prayer thing and at eleven o’clock I was coming here to speak with you guys because you guys are going to doing a prayer service for him. So I was going to be here. I am not going to be a part of the search today because I took time to come to see the students. So please guys, go back to your class; we are not into this. Education is first and foremost, most important to me and Kelvin; you guys know this. He was just telling me mom I am doing so good and I am going to be on the Dean’s List and Friday he told me this. Come on guys, your parents work so hard to have you here; don’t let them have to spend extra money for doing another semester. I understand where you are coming from, but this is the wrong way of doing it. Go back to class, please?  I was going to be here; they called me last night, they called me this morning, what they can do, what I need; if I need money for bus. They’ve been with me. I told them I am okay with bus; they told me if I need helicopter, they are going to help. They have been helping me, if you didn’t know.”

 

Despite an impassioned plea from Kelvin’s mother, a majority of the students continued to stay away from their scheduled sessions.

 

Voice of: SJC Sixth Form Student

“Many of our teachers have supported us in boycotting classes. I mean we have their permission of course, but they cannot object to their administration. I mean that would be very; it would look unprofessional. And also administration at the highest level has failed every single SJC student. As a leader, they are supposed to have proper communication from the top to the bottom and the students are the most important in this hierarchy. And as a result they have failed to communicate to the student body. They sent an email an at inappropriate hour, four days after with nothing rational in it; talking about they have contacted the authorities. I mean at this point, who hasn’t?”

 

The resounding concern among students was that there was a lack of transparency from the administration in informing them of the role that the tertiary institution was playing in the recovery effort.

 

Voice of: SJC Sixth Form Student

“There hasn’t been any transparency whatsoever and because of that, we are upset. And I am ready to face the repercussions and this talk about going back to class because education is most important. I think that is a bit flawed because if we as a country where education is the most important thing, I guess lives don’t matter then because they want us to go to class. And yes, I am all for education, but we need to stand together and say that something needs to be done. And it is not just about this, there have been many instances with police brutality and all sort of nonsense. So we want to be heard; we want the government to take us seriously. We don’t want them to just listen to this, find the child and say okay you know what, we found him yes; he is safe. No! We want to know what will change; how the system will improve after this.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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