NSW Police at the scene of the alleged stabbing. Photo: Karleen Minney
Year 7 students who only began secondary school last week watched in horror as a 16-year-old was allegedly stabbed during the lunch break at a Queanbeyan high school on Tuesday.
A 15-year-old boy has been charged over the alleged lunch-time attack, which left a 16-year-old student with two wounds – one to his abdomen and another to his thigh – at about 12.45pm, according to police.
The 16-year old was taken from the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, to The Canberra Hospital by ambulance.
Queanbeyan Police duty officer Inspector Christopher Varley said the 15-year-old boy was charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. He would remain in police custody overnight, and appear before Queanbeyan Local Court Wednesday morning.
Paramedics arrived at the scene at 12.45pm, and took the 16-year-old victim to The Canberra Hospital for treatment, where he remained in a stable condition on Tuesday evening. His injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.
Inspector Varley said the alleged attacker had been detained by teachers when police arrived at the school shortly after 12.47pm.
‘‘I’ve got to pay compliments to teaching staff... and the professional job they did to control the incident and contain the young man involved,’’ Inspector Varley said.
‘‘He was basically with the school staff when we arrived.’’
Inspector Varley said the attack had been witnessed by several students as it had occurred during lunch time.
‘‘A number of students were in the vicinity at the time and of course witnessed what occurred,’’ he said.
Counselling has already been provided to distressed students at the school.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities said further student support would be offered on Wednesday, and for as long as needed.
The Department refused to comment on the incident any further, saying it would be inappropriate while the police investigation continued.
Inspector Varley said school staff had done a good job of caring for the child witnesses.
‘‘Clearly it’s a traumatic event to occur in the school grounds,’’ he said.
An outdoor lunch area at the school had been cordoned off, and police said a knife was recovered at the scene.
Students had been called into an assembly after the incident, while some students could be seen leaving the school in tears.
Several parents rushed to the school to collect their children after hearing news of incident.
One mother said: ”My son just rang and said a boy he knew had been stabbed. ‘We’re in minor lockdown please come and get me’.”
Another mother said her Year 7 daughter had told her the stabbing happened at the end of lunch time.
“It’s her first week [of high school]. She was sitting having lunch and then she saw the stabbing. I’m thinking of pulling her out and sending her to a private school.”
Students who witnessed the incident said they had been instructed not to speak to the media.
The school's principal refused to comment on the incident.