Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Stab school pupils get counselling

Children who witnessed a horrific scalpel attack on one young pupil by another have been offered support by psychologists.

A Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is advising staff at St Columb's College following the stabbing of a 13-year-old at the school.

The boy was treated for a puncture wound to his stomach after a 12-year-old fellow student allegedly attacked him on the grounds of the school at lunch time on Friday, October 7.

The boy was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where his wound was closed with a single staple. He is now recovering at home.

A spokeswoman for the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) confirmed the involvement of the response team.

She said: “The WELB’s Critical Incident Response Team consists of educational psychologists and education welfare officers, who respond to critical incidents within a school setting.

“The team offers a range of support in close collaboration with the school’s senior management team and responds as appropriate to each school’s individual need.

“CIRT offers guidance, advice and emotional support to schools’ staff and pupils to reduce confusion and minimise the impact of the crisis.”

Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan — himself a former pupil at the school — said he is confident that a thorough investigation will be conducted.

“I have every confidence that Sean McGinty, the principal of St Columb's, will conduct a thorough investigation and I know from when I was a student in the school — and he was one of my teachers — that this is a most unusual occurrence.”

Mr McGinty was not available for interview but issued a statement: “I can confirm that there was an incident in the grounds of our school at lunch time on Friday October 7 during which a pupil sustained an injury requiring medical attention.

“There is an ongoing investigation which at this time prevents us from making further comment.”

Factfile

Founded in 1879, St Columb's College is Derry's oldest and largest Catholic Boys’ grammar school. It has the unique distinction in Ireland of being the alma mater of two Nobel Laureates, John Hume and Seamus Heaney. The school has over 1,500 students and specialises in Mathematics and Computing. It has been recognised for the quality of its work in information and communications technology.

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