Despite the tragic killing of Inspector Carlis Blatch in front of his young daughter near H.O. Nash Jr. High School on Wednesday, the school’s principal, Cheryl Samuels, assured yesterday that they are “more than relatively safe” and there is no need to beef up police presence at the school.
“I don’t think that we need additional police,” said Samuels, who has been principal of the school since 2012.
“We are normally safe and it was just an incident that took place that doesn’t normally happen, nobody could predict it.
“At the end of the school day, my senior master, Mr. [Richard] Deal, along with a police [officer] that we have on the school campus and our security, we walk our children out of the school yard, onto that main thoroughfare; try to see that they get onto the buses, try to see that they get wherever they need to go safely.
“For the most part, parents are out there or in the yard picking them up.”
Blatch, 45, aide-de-camp to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, was shot around 3 p.m., while waiting for his son, a ninth-grade student of H.O. Nash Junior High School, to exit the campus.
Police said a gunman approached the officer and demanded that he exit the vehicle.
The suspect shot Blatch and dragged him out of his blue Hyundai Elantra and drove off in it.
Blatch’s 11-year-old daughter managed to get out of the vehicle and run for help, police said.
Samuels described Blatch as a very supportive parent, who played an active role in his children’s schooling.
“He was a parent we saw every day and he came and he brought his child to school,” Samuels said.
“He came if there was anything that he had to bring for the child and he was one of the parents we could call if anything was needed for the school.”
The school held a special assembly in honor of Blatch yesterday morning and brought in counsellors to speak to the students who witnessed the incident.
“We sent condolences to the family and we also decided to make the children aware that if one member of the H.O. Nash family is hurting, everybody is hurting,” said Samuels.
“A number of them saw the incident and need the counseling, so we had counselors on hand this morning.
“They did a whole period and they will make some suggestions as to who needs further counseling.”
Samuels said the counseling will continue as long as there is a need for it.
She added that they are unsure how many students may have witnessed the incident.
As for Blatch’s son, who was described as an exceptional student and one of the school’s top ninth graders, Samuels said the school will be paying close attention to him.
“As a ninth grader it will be even more impactful especially because he’s having exams…it’s a critical year for him,” she said.
“We’ve had other students whose parents have died. They may not have died so tragically but we try to make sure that we stick very close to them and we see whatever needs they have.”
Samuels once again assured that there is no need to be concerned.
“I don’t have any concern about crime because we take a lot of measures to see that our children are safe on our campus, and all you can do is take every measure that you possibly can, and even when you do that, something may happen, but you can’t live your life in fear,” she said.
“I think that our administrators, our police officer, all of our auxiliary staff, they are out there, lunch time, break time, in the morning, we are constantly watching and making sure that our children are safe.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications