Second arrest over Ballina gang attack

By MARY MANN

A SECOND youth has been arrested over a gang attack on a student outside Ballina High School last Wednesday.

The 17-year-old Ballina youth, who was yesterday charged with affray, assault and entering closed land, was allegedly one of a group who violently confronted students at the Swift Street bus interchange.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested over the incident last Friday.

Parents are outraged over the attack, which has sparked questions about who is responsible for what happens at a school bus interchange.

After a series of similar incidents in Lismore in 2004, Lismore City Council prepared a code of behaviour for those using the Brewster Street interchange.

The council's road safety officer, Salina Runge, said the code, which was created by the council, students, teachers and bus companies, had encouraged students to take more responsibility for what happens at the interchange.

She encouraged other local government areas to consider implementing a similar code.

"It was found there was no single party to take responsibility for the interchange and it was decided that the young people themselves had to take more responsibility for their actions," she said.

The code asked students to respect all people and property, keep to the law and follow school rules.

Ballina Shire Council general manager Paul Hickey said if schools and parents showed an interest in creating a similar code for the Ballina bus interchange, the council would be more than happy to look into it.

According to the Department of Education and Training, individual schools are responsible for getting their students to and from bus services.

However, they are not responsible for overseeing the whole interchange.

The arrested youths will go before the Ballina Children's Court on June 21.



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