Stabbing evokes stark reminders for principals

by Brett Henebery03 Feb 2017

Experts have warned that yesterday’s shocking events at Bonnyrigg High School serve as a reminder that principals should be familiar with their critical response policies.

On Thursday, a 16-year-old student was arrested by police after two high school students and a teacher were stabbed at the school, located in Sydney’s west.

Police said despite initial reports of the weapon being a metal ruler, it’s believed a knife was used.

Nathan Croot, senior associate at Emil Ford Lawyers, told The Educator that there are a couple of reminders for principals from Thursday’s incident.

“The first is that principals should be familiar with their critical response policies and procedures because they could have to put them into action at a moment’s notice,” he said.

“The school appears to have responded very well to the incident and has been commended by the police.”

Croot said the second was that, unfortunately, schools can’t prevent every incident on campus.

“Schools have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to prevent risks of harm,” he said.

“However, in this case, it is hard to see what else the school could have reasonably done to prevent the incident when there was no warning.”

He added that if a school suspects a student may commit an act of violence, it should obviously take all reasonable precautions to prevent the risk.

“Schools should also be alert to any warning signs. Unfortunately, short of mandatory bag searches or installing metal detectors at the school gates, there may be nothing more a principal can do to prevent such an attack,” he said.
Bonnyrigg High School has been contacted for comment.
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