We can’t shy away from hard stories

IT’S BEEN a tough few years for Kadina High.

First there was the death of three of its students, Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh and Bryce Wells, and one former student, Paul Morris, in the 2006 crash at Broken Head.

Then, last year, there was the suicide of Alex Wildman amid claims he was bullied and, more recently, there has been the examination of those claims in a coronial inquest.

It is understandable the school community would be distressed at the inquest and the media coverage of that inquest. That distress has shown itself in the letters pages of this newspaper and appears again today.

Among the issues raised in some of those letters was that coverage of the inquest was ‘hard’ on the school and did not represent the many good things about Kadina High.

During the inquest, The Northern Star strove to provide a fair and accurate report of each day’s hearing. However, the stories covering the inquest were not, and could not, be representations of the school itself – rather they represented solely the inquest hearings and the evidence presented to them.

Kadina has many exceptional students and the strength of its school community can only be admired. That strength was vividly displayed in the way the school pulled together after the Broken Head crash and is being shown again now.

However, news media also have a responsibility to accurately report proceedings such as the inquest into Alex’s death and to not shy away from the stories that come from them, no matter how uncomfortable they are.

There clearly are lessons to be learned from the death of Alex Wildman, but those lessons are not just for Kadina, they are for the entire Northern Rivers community.

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