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Catholic Education Board comments on Cumaca RC shooting

The Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) is alarmed and saddened by the breach of the “sanctity” of the school compound following a shooting at the Cumaca RC, Valencia yesterday, Monday June 5. The parent of a pupil was wounded.

In a response to the report, CEBM Chief Executive Officer Sharon Mangroo, said a school is traditionally a space of safety for pupils however, at Cumaca RC for the children witnessing the incident, it will be associated with trauma for some time.

Mangroo commended the “professional response” of the female security officer and principal, as well as the quick response of police to ensure the children’s safety.

The Ministry of Education’s Student Support Services Division (SSSD) will today provide counselling to all pupils; tomorrow, staff will receive counselling through the Employee Assistance Programme.

According to reports on the incident, the parent of a Standard One pupil was dropping off the child shortly after 8 a.m. when he saw a man walking toward him with what appeared to be a gun.

The parent ran on to the school compound and alerted the security officer that he was being pursued by an armed man. The parent ran toward the eastern side of the school with the gunman chasing after him.

One shot was fired, and the assailant escaped via the cemetery near the school. The parent was shot in the right arm. He was subsequently instructed to leave the compound in the interest of the pupils’ safety.

The children were ushered into their classrooms and the doors locked. At the time of the episode, there were 35 pupils present along with the principal and a teacher. No pupil or staff member was physically injured.

The Valencia Police Post was contacted, and officers arrived not long after to investigate, and the injured man was taken to hospital. The School Supervisor was also notified and visited the school.

All pupils were led into the school hall where three SSSD personnel gave support and comfort. Parents were contacted to collect their children.

Cumaca RC has implemented changes following the shooting.

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly told TV6 news the incident was “regrettable and highly traumatic for the teachers and staff of the school and those who witnessed it.”