Jamaica: The distraught mother of Rasheed Bullock, the 14-year-old Meadowbrook High student who became a victim of the ‘tripping jump challenge’ that has gone viral globally, said it was his close friend who lured him to his fall.
The prank – which sees three persons line up side by side, with the middle participant goaded into jumping into the air, unaware of being tripped on the way down – has raised alarm locally and triggered the Ministry of Education to issue a warning to school administrators to crack down on the growing practice.
Kerrisa Dockery told The Gleaner that her ninth-grade son was in his classroom when his friend offered him $100 to engage in the jump challenge.
“So my son go out because is him friend, and him trust him friend. Him never know anything about the game, and if you watch the video, you will see that him clearly never know anything about it.
“Those two boys are not his friends. He doesn’t know them. The other boys are in fourth form, and he is in third form. Right now, I am stressed. I don’t sleep, and I don’t eat,” Dockery said.
In the Meadowbrook video, one of the boys could be heard reassuring Bullock that he had already jumped and received the promised money and that he would not need to jump high.
The 34-year-old mother said that her son did not initially report the incident, which occurred last Wednesday, to her. It was not until the video was sent to her the following night that she was made aware.
The following day, Dockery was jolted by X-ray results showing that her son had suffered a fracture to his left arm.
“I went up to the school, and they said I was to go to the hospital and cover all bills and the parents (of the boys who tripped her son) were supposed to reimburse me.
“I am not sure who, because they said they were supposed to contact me over the weekend, and I have not received a call as yet. Nobody has called to find out how he is doing or nothing,” she said.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Education flagged the tripping jump challenge, condemning it as a dangerous prank.
“The ministry notes that there are several videos being circulated on the Internet showing students jumping and falling violently to the ground after being tripped by other students. This prank demonstrates a lack of good judgement on the part of those involved and should not be tolerated,” the ministry said.
“Students are partaking in the prank not realising that a fall of such nature can cause serious physical, mental, and emotional damage with great legal and financial implications.”
The education ministry has also asked schools to enlist the support of parents in promoting respect and empathy among the student population. Children have also been urged to use social media responsibly.
Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Owen Speid has recommended that students face tough penalties for participating in the “evil practice”.
“There should be zero tolerance to it in the school because it is very dangerous. Teachers will have to be a little more vigilant, and students will have to be monitored at play.
“Even though it will be a little more challenging for teachers because it’s in their break period, where they get a little time to breathe, they will have to give a closer watch,” Speid said.
Further, he shared that the chronic shortage of teachers, especially in high schools, would undercut attempts to monitor students round the clock.
Approximately 390 teachers have exited the classroom in a mass exodus since last September, Speid said last week, with 51 retirees having answered the call to return since then.
The JTA boss called for the Government to consider a specific subvention for investment in surveillance cameras in schools.