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Alleged stabbing: boy in court

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NSW Police at the scene of a student stabbing at Karabar High School.

NSW Police at the scene of a student stabbing at Karabar High School. Photo: Karleen Minney

A boy charged over an alleged stabbing at Karabar High School in Queanbeyan has been referred for a mental health assessment.

The youth, who cannot be identified, appeared before the Children’s Court in Queanbeyan on Wednesday morning.

Media were not permitted into the hearing.

Bail registrar Michael Wolters referred the boy for a mental health assessment. The boy would be held for treatment if he was found to be mentally ill, or returned to court if he was not.

All parties in the case agreed to the referral.

Meanwhile, a local politician whose children went to Karabar High defended the school, attributing some of the reaction to “Queanbeyan-bashing”.

There was a backlash against the school on social media after the incident. The parent of one student told Fairfax Media she would consider removing  her daughter.

Former local member and current NSW upper house Labor politician Steve Whan – whose wife, Cherie, is president of the Parents and Citizens’ Association – defended the school on his Facebook page.

He told Fairfax Media on Wednesday the incident was “out of character” for the school and “a shock to everyone”. He urged parents thinking about removing their child from the school to reconsider.

“I can understand why someone who has just started at the school would feel that that was pretty upsetting.

‘‘I think all the parents who’ve experienced the school,  and particularly the teachers,  would say to those people this is not a reflection of what the school is like. It’s a terrific school and this is an isolated one-off.”

The school of more than 1000 students is the only partially-selective school in the area, and, according to the MySchool website achieves results close to the national average. 

In last year’s NSW Higher School Certificate five Karabar students were named on the top achievers’ list for coming in the top 20 students in the state in individual units.

Karabar’s list of notable alumni includes sportsmen Brad Haddin, Mark Webber and Terry Campese.

The Whans’ son and daughter attended the high school, his daughter finishing just over a year ago.

Mr Whan said he was aware of some of the negative backlash on social media following the lunch time stabbing, but said it wasn’t warranted.

“I think a lot of what we see some people say is good old Queanbeyan bashing which is unfortunately all too common from people, but it’s not justified,” Mr Whan said.

Local NSW member John Barilaro told Fairfax that the safety of students was paramount, and the response to the incident from police, school staff and department had been commendable.

"This is a distressing and unsettling incident at the start of a new school year for the entire school community,” he said.

“Karabar High School is a fantastic school in my electorate and its reputation should not be unfairly judged over this isolated incident.”

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