(Jamaica Observer) Students attending Denham Town Primary School in west Kingston are being put through ‘gunshot drills’ that train them how to react during gun battles between thugs — a common occurrence in the volatile community.

Denham Town Primary School Principal Eugenne Brown told the Jamaica Observer that students at her school and others in the area are suffering because of the never-ending gang war that has claimed the lives of dozens of people and caused injury to more than 50 children in recent years.Over the past week alone, two people have been killed and more than 10 others injured by gangsters locked in a deadly fight for turf.

“At some schools, teachers take students through fire drills, but at our institution we are forced to conduct things like gunshot drills,” Brown told the Observer on Wednesday amidst sporadic bouts of gunfire in close proximity to the school. Several people could be seen scurrying to safety — knowing full well that the gangsters were at it again. Inside the schoolyard, at the sound of the deafening gunfire, Brown’s students — ages six to 12 years — reacted almost instinctively, stopping all their activities and running for cover.

Teachers explained that the drills are necessary, given the frequency of violent breakouts in the community, with criminals using the streets close to where the children play as battlefields. While there was no report of death or injury Wednesday, the teachers were well aware of the scene that played out Monday outside the neighbouring St Anne’s Primary School where a man died after being chased and shot multiple times by men travelling in a motor car.

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