Canberra school in mourning after Campbell High School student dies in tragic off-campus accident
Campbell High School is located next door to bushland at Mount Ainslie. (ABC News: Tom Lowrey)
A Canberra high school is mourning the death of a Year 10 student who died as a result of a tragic accident during a physical education class off school grounds yesterday.
- The 17yo boy was taking part in a PE class at Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve
- The circumstances surrounding the accident remain unclear
- Campbell High School principal urged staff, students and parents to “stand close as a community”
The circumstances surrounding the accident remain unclear.
The boy’s family asked for their and their son’s privacy to be respected.
Last night, Campbell High School principal Steve Collins sent an email to parents and carers of the school community, informing “with extreme sadness” that the boy passed away unexpectedly after the accident.
“I would like to extend my condolences to the family and I extend my sympathy and thoughts to everyone in our school community at this time,” the email read.
“Right now, our role is to stand close as a community and allow the family the time they need to grieve.
“I encourage us to support each other as a community. Reach out and talk with each other and support those around you. Look out for signs that your children might be struggling with what happened.”
The Year 10 student was taking part in a PE lesson at Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve. (ABC News: Tahlia Roy)
Mr Collins urged parents to remember that children express grief in different ways.
“Sometimes it can be immediate or delayed,” he said.
“Children can show visible signs of grief, but also can withdraw and internalise their feelings.”
Some of the school community took to social media to pay tribute, including the mother of another student who said her “heart breaks for the family [of the] sweet, young man”.
“This strong group of kids at Campbell High will come together and support each other through this heart-breaking time,” she wrote.
“I am so saddened by this news,” another woman wrote.
“My daughter was friends with him … what a waste of a beautiful young man. RIP buddy. My heart goes out to everyone involved, friends, family and teachers.
“You never expect to send your child to school and they don’t come home.”
Staff, students deeply traumatised
ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said she was “deeply saddened” by the news and urged the community to be sensitive to the family and friends of the student.
She said the accident happened during a school activity that students regularly participated in, having Mount Ainslie behind the school grounds.
A school dance, set to be held last night, was cancelled.
Ms Berry said she had not discussed suspending PE lessons while an investigation was underway.
“The advice I had was this was just a terrible accident. It’s terribly sad,” she said.
“Of course, we want to encourage people to have outdoor activity. We don’t want to discourage that … but this circumstance has led to the passing of a young man and we’re all feeling very sad about that about the moment — indeed the whole community is.”
Ms Berry said she spoke to the family this morning, who were “understandably very, very upset”.
She did not say if the Education Directorate was undergoing an independent investigation to that of the police.
“If it’s appropriate the coroner will be involved and they’ll release information [publicly] as appropriate,” she said.
The school is providing support for students and staff, with many deeply traumatised.