Principal Muriel Frampton-Marks said students cried openly when they were told their missing schoolmate, who they held prayer services for on Monday, was found dead in Laventille yesterday.
“At first when they heard the news, children were crying and then after some time, someone said they were informed that officials were not sure if it was her and the whole school went into jubilation. It was ‘Thank you Jesus!’, clapping and carrying on. Then we got the news again that it was her and it went back to that sombre mood when the news first broke,” she said in a wavering voice.
Education ministry officials, members of the Catholic Education Board and Management and representatives of the Student Support Services met with staff and students yesterday morning before classes were cancelled at about 11.30 am.
Additional counselling would be provided for staff and students if the need arises, said Frampton-Marks who had held out hope that Tecia would return home alive.
“ When I went down the street yesterday (Tuesday) and saw the missing posters all over, every time I passed one of those pictures I would say to her, ‘Baby girl, I know we are going to see you alive again.’It is so very hurtful that this happened, ” she said. “It is senseless, so very senseless. I cannot understand how an adult could do something like that to a child but my faith confirms that God is still in control.” The school, she said, would honour Tecia’s memory but a decision on how still had to be made.
“After graduation exercises tomorrow (today) we will sit and come up with a fitting way of celebrating her short life but as soon as we are informed of funeral arrangements, we would be attending the funeral,” she said.
Frampton-Mark described Tecia as helpful, kind and pleasant.
“She was soft and gentle. She was a very coward child, scared of anything so I could just imagine how traumatised she was before her death,” she said.
President of the Parent Teacher Association Zeena Ramatali yesterday called on citizens of the country to speak out against crime. Ramatali said she heard of Tecia’s death via a text message while attending a graduation at a primary school in Arima.
Ramatali said, “Someone had to see something, and I am asking anyone who witnessed this gruesome crime against this baby, to come out and say something. This mother would never be able to see her child graduate or even worse yet celebrate her birthday.”
As a mother, Ramatali said her heart pained for Tecia’s parents and sibilings. “It is a very sad day for this country when the life of a young child is snuffed out. I am urging parents to be more vigilant and secure your children. Tell them the facts.”