Teen death rocks state

WITH one hand clasping a green coffin, Justine Kelly helped carry her 14-year-old son Alex Wildman from the Lismore Uniting Church yesterday afternoon.

The Kadina High student took his own life last Friday and claims have surfaced that it was a result of bullying at school, causing the NSW State Opposition to call for the Iemma Government to stamp out bullying.

However, many fellow students believe other factors beside bullying contributed to the young man's death.

Counselling has been offered to the school's students.

Shadow Minister for Education Andrew Stoner expressed his deepest sympathies to the young man's family.

"It's devastating to see this young man with so much potential take his own life," he said.

"We would hope the police inquiry, or possibly a coronial inquiry, gets to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding this tragic suicide.

"Reports that bullying may have contributed to Alex's suicide are particularly distressing.

"No child should have to put up with the torment of being bullied. Bullying is a miserable practice that has no place in our State's schools."

Mr Stoner said investigations were continuing into the events surrounding the teen's death.

In mid-last year the Liberal/Nationals called for an inquiry into bullying following a number of incidents including schools at Crookwell, Plumpton and Ambarvale.

It was revealed the Department of Education had paid more than $6 million in compensation to victims of bullying, with one victim, Benjamin Cox, awarded more than $1 million.

Cyber-bullying has also been a problem.

The Department of Education is helping police with their investigation.

"The first thing that Premier Morris Iemma should do is to appoint a new, full-time Education Minister following John Della Bosca's standing aside," Mr Stoner said.

If you are being bullied and need someone to talk to, contact Kids Help Line on 1800 551 800 or Parent line on 132 055.


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