Strange illness hits Barrouallie
May 19, 2006
Strange illness hits Barrouallie

The staff and pupils at the Barrouallie Anglican School have resorted to prayer in their quest to find answers to a mysterious illness that had befallen some students. Up to last week Friday, they were still taking their situation to the Lord in prayer.

Mida Mason, headteacher of that institution, was befuddled as to reasons why female students between ages 10 and 13 were affected by the illness.{{more}}

According to her, “We were at assembly. A child fell. Teachers took her to the clinic. Another child fell after.”

Mason disclosed that the “illness appeared to be serious. The children appeared to be stiff and couldn’t walk.”

About six girls were hospitalised as a result of the attack.

Speaking from the school’s compound last week Friday, Mason outlined her school’s response to the situation. “Yesterday at recess, we had to have a prayer session. It is something we can’t understand,” Mason pointed out.

She mentioned that the unexplained illness was a source of worry to teachers and parents alike.

However, some persons have given it their own bizarre twist and according to Mason, “People are suggesting it might have been (a) demonic force.”

Regardless of the source, Mason mentioned that it rendered the children somewhat agitated.

“We couldn’t get the children to settle down,” she said. The headteacher admitted, “It is not an easy situation to work in.”

The headteacher of another primary school in the area, the Barrouallie Government School, did not want her name or school associated with the matter mentioning “people blow the thing out of proportion.”

With a somewhat dispassionate view, the headteacher added: “People have sickness everyday. It ain’t worth it.”

She did think the situation warranted national attention and advised that when children take part in public speaking, those are the events that should be highlighted. She was of the view that “parents need to be educated.

“Ah jumbie them ah say,” she added.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Laura Browne admitted last Monday at a press conference that the reason for the illness had not been identified, but that the Ministry of Health and the Environment was “investigating.”

She added that there was “no reason to close the school.” However, those in charge of the institution in the central leeward town took the step to close the school “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Ministry of Health and Environment did not reveal any findings as to the possible cause of the outbreak.