Mon | May 27, 2024

‘I don’t know how I am going to live without my son’

Mother of slain Irwin High boy says he had asked for transfer to another school

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2024 | 12:08 AMRochelle Clayton/Staff Reporter
A mourning Stacy-Ann Dunkley wears the uniform shirt of her son Raniel Plummer, while displaying his photo. Fifteen-year-old Raniel, a student of Irwin High School, was fatally stabbed outside the school compound in St James on Thursday.
A mourning Stacy-Ann Dunkley wears the uniform shirt of her son Raniel Plummer, while displaying his photo. Fifteen-year-old Raniel, a student of Irwin High School, was fatally stabbed outside the school compound in St James on Thursday.


ON FRIDAY, Stacy-Ann Dunkley stared blankly as she spoke about her son Raniel Plummer’s request to be transferred from Irwin High School in St James.

That request will never come to fruition as the 15-year-old boy was stabbed and killed by another male student outside the school compound on Thursday afternoon.

“He said to me earlier this year that he wanted to move from Irwin. I told him that September coming I will move him because I already paid the school fee, $10,500, so September, I’ll move him,” Dunkley told The Gleaner.

According to the Montego Bay police, Plummer was approached and attacked by a group of students after exiting the grounds of the secondary institution. During the assault, the police said that Plummer was stabbed in the chest by a 14-year-old male student. It is being alleged that the assault was stemming from an earlier altercation.

The youngster was then transported to the Cornwall Regional Hospital by a taxi operator, in the company of two female students, where he died while receiving treatment.

In the meantime, the accused boy was taken into the nearby Meadows of Irwin Police Post on Friday afternoon by his parent.

“It is confirmed that the 14-year-old student of Irwin High School implicated in the stabbing murder of another student has been placed in police custody. He was brought in by his parents and we are in the process of conducting our investigations and interviews with him,” shared Acting Senior Superintendent Eron Samuels, the new Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) commander for the St James Police Division.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Moore noted that the boy was being interviewed in the presence of his attorney.

“The investigations are flowing smoothly and we’ll provide an update as soon as possible,” DSP Moore said.

Searching for answer

For Dunkley, Thursday’s fatal incident has left her searching for answers that she may never receive. She explained that Plummer was a promising footballer who also had big dreams of pursuing a career in computer engineering.

“I don’t know why somebody would want to kill my son. Stab mi son inna him heart? One stab in a him heart? That means him did wah kill mi son because the only way you stab somebody in a dem heart a when you wah kill dem,” the mother bemoaned.

While she said that Plummer has never complained about being bullied at school, she knew that something was wrong when he asked to be moved.

As she reflected on her last interaction with her son, Dunkley told The Gleaner that there were no additional signs that trouble was brewing in Plummer’s school life. She, however, attributed this to his easygoing demeanour, as she said that the youngster was never one to complain.

“He came into my room for his lunch money and said, ‘Mommy have a wonderful day at work today,’ and I said ‘have a wonderful day at school’. Then he left,” Dunkley recounted.

Though the incident occurred outside the school compound, Dunkley told The Gleaner that it was the taxi driver who contacted her to share the horrifying news.

“I was at work, and I got a call from a taxi driver who said that he is taking my son to the hospital with two of his classmates because my son said a boy stabbed him in his chest with a knife,” she explained.

While noting that her young son was her “little helper”, Dunkley said she is struggling to understand why her son’s life was cut short by his schoolmate.

This fatal incident also marks the third death being experienced by the family since last December.

Siblings heartbroken

Plummer’s four siblings,too, have, been left heartbroken by his death, Dunkley said.

“Words cannot explain how I feel. I feel like I want to die. I lost my father in December, I lost my brother in February and now I lose my son,” she said.

“I don’t know how I am going to live without my son. I don’t know how mi go manage without my son in this house. Mi nuh wah live inna dis ya house ya anymore because mi cya imagine living without Raniel. It’s like I am breathing, and I am still alive, but mi dead.”

“Mi heart come out of mi body when the doctor dem tell me seh dem couldn’t save him. Dem do everything dem could but dem couldn’t save him,” the grieving mother added.

Marva Falkner, Plummer’s godmother, and neighbour, told The Gleaner that she is surprised by the violent incident that claimed his life.

“I was so shocked when I heard the news. It just pains my heart and I feel like it was my child. I don’t know what happened because he does not talk. He was just a quiet child. The only thing I would see him doing is when he rode his bicycle pass my gate to his gate,” Falkner said.

On Friday, officials from the Irwin High School declined to provide a comment on the fatal incident. The school staff was reportedly called to a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education (MOE) Region Four, while the students received grief counselling.

No classes were held at the school.

In the meantime, Samuels called on students to desist from violent practices.

“In recent times we’ve seen where there has been a lot of violence in schools, not just in the St James Division but across the country. But for students within the St James division we’re urging you to just ease down on the violence, we want you to recognise that all the issues that you have can be solved. There’s nothing that we can’t sit down and have a discussion and reason about. We want to urge you just to be careful and look at the implications that situations like these can have on your future and we want peace to reign within the schools so that you guys can have a great future ahead of you and just continue to learn in peace and safety,” he said.

Samuels also explained that the police are working with stakeholder groups to address violence in schools.

“A safe school task force has been set up by the JCF, and are joined by members of the Ministry of Education, guidance counsellors and other stakeholders to ensure that we deal with the issue of violence in schools. This situation at Irwin High School is unfortunate and we hope that the task force will help to stop these issues from occurring, or to cauterise the type of violence that we see permeating within the schools in St James.”