“A little angel, who was very elegant and meticulous,” is how grade-two teacher, Gillian Walker, remembers eight-year-old Danielle Rowe.
“She takes her own sweet time to do whatever she’s doing and if it takes her 50 times to go back and get it correct, she’s going to go back the 50 times. She is always so polite. She’s not disobedient or disrespectful in any way,” she shared with JIS News.
“She plays but she’s not one of those who would play all the time… . She is more concerned with doing her work. Whenever she comes in the mornings… she gets straight to work,” she said further.
Walker was recalling fond memories of her late student at a special service held on Monday (June 12) at Braeton Primary and Infant in Portmore, St Catherine, which she attended.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams and officers from the Ministry, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) also participated in the service.
Danielle, who was abducted from school on Thursday (June 7), succumbed to injuries she sustained early Saturday morning, while being treated in hospital (June 10).
Walker told JIS News that the tragic incident has impacted her friends and classmates, and she continues to offer them comfort and support in collaboration with the school’s guidance counsellors.
The grade-two teacher recalled the warm hug she received from Danielle on her last day at school.
“I dismissed class and she stood there in line [because] I normally hug them before they leave, and she was the first one I hugged. She didn’t even wait her turn. She hugged me and said, ‘See you tomorrow miss; love you,’ and I said, ‘Love you too my darling’ and she left,” she says.
Minister Williams, in her addresses, said the Ministry remains committed to supporting Danielle’s family during this difficult time.
“As we stand in this moment of unspeakable grief, we stand with Danielle’s family, and we pray for all the students here.
“We’ve already committed to her mom that we will stand with her, and we know that there’ll be many expenses associated with this; unexpected expenses, and so we are committing to be with her through all of that,” said Minister Williams, who shared that she had visited with Danielle’s family on Sunday (June 11).
The Minister also announced that surveillance cameras will be installed at the entrances of all primary institutions as part of efforts to strengthen the safety and security of students.
For his part, Commanding Officer for the St Catherine South Police Division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Christopher Phillips, expressed that “our hearts are bleeding… losing this precious little one means losing the future she should have had. She’s gone from the life that was to be”.
“We condemn the gruesome act of snatching the life of an innocent eight-year-old child. We want to assure the family and the nation that we will not stop until we unlock this case and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he pledged.
SSP Phillips is urging principals of schools within the division to review their safety and security protocols by establishing a committee that meets at least once per quarter.
“We’re committed to having a police officer sit on each of those safety and security committees and we have recognised that we now have to pay far more attention to our primary schools,” he pointed out.
SSP Phillips said that Danielle’s passing must not be in vain and urged persons with information to come forward by calling 911 or contact the nearest police station.
“Let us work as a community, as a country, to ensure that justice is served,” he said.