Boy coaxed down from school roof

Boy coaxed down from school roof

JARED MORGAN – The Southland Times | Thursday, 26 February 2009

Police negotiators were needed to coax a bullied 10-year-old boy down from a Southland school rooftop after he threatened to jump yesterday.

The threats by the boy to jump from the single-storey school building sparked a full emergency response in Invercargill.

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes said police, the Fire Service and St John paramedics were called to Ascot Community School, on Tay St, about 11.45am.

Police negotiators were able to talk him down before taking him to the Invercargill police station to be dealt with by medical professionals, including mental health services, he said.

The boy was uninjured in the incident.

The boy’s mother said yesterday her son had been involved in several squabbles with other students at the school since the start of the week.

He and his younger brother had been brought home by police on Monday after she said the younger boy allegedly threatened another child with scissors, while police told her that her older son had thrown a chair at another student.

On Tuesday, the 10-year-old was involved in a squabble with two other children, a boy and a girl, who taunted him about scarring from burns he received in a house fire almost two years’ ago and the fact he had been taken away by police the day before, she said.

Then, yesterday, her son and the boy again had a confrontation, leading to her son punching the boy, the woman said.

“I was a called at 9.30am and told to come and pick him up because he had been stood down.”

While she was meeting with the principal to discuss the matter, her son and the boy had another confrontation, leading to him climbing on to the roof to “get away from him.”

The incidents were the result of her son not coping with the burns to his chest, stomach and thighs, caused by standing too close to a stove at the family’s Yarrow St home in June 2007.

He still wears a pressure suit as a result of the injuries and had been subjected to bullying, she said.

The school and principal Wendy Ryan had been supportive of her son but she felt more needed to be done to protect him from bullying, the woman said.

Mrs Ryan could not be reached for comment yesterday.