Saturday 16 December 2017

Scotland school 'stabbing': Head teacher pays tribute to gentle, caring boy (16)


Hilary Duncanson, Chief Reporter, Press Association Scotland

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy who died following an alleged stabbing at an Aberdeen secondary school was a gentle, caring pupil who had lot of friends, his head teacher has said.

Cults Academy head teacher Anna Muirhead said the school community is "totally devastated" and in shock following the incident, which police are treating as a murder inquiry.

The teenager, understood to be fifth-year pupil Bailey Gwynne, was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with serious injuries after police were called to the school in the west of the city at about 1.30pm. He died a short time later in hospital.

A 16-year-old boy has been detained in connection with the incident and is said to be helping police with their inquiries.

Speaking to reporters tonight, Ms Muirhead said: "Pupils and staff are in a state of total shock. The boy involved was a very gentle, caring pupil, with a lot of friends.

"I think it's fair to say the whole school community is totally devastated. At the moment of course our thoughts are all with the boy's close family and his friends and what they must be going through at this tragic time."

Tributes have flooded in on social media for the boy who died.

On Twitter, @RoryMcGregor2 wrote: "Condolences to the family and friends of Bailey. Cults Academy won't be the same without you."

Another tribute from @AndrewNeill43 stated: "Rest In Peace Bailey."

Meanwhile, @sophiathain stated: "Absolutely horrific news, such an innocent boy's life has been taken. Thoughts go out to Bailey's family and friends."

And @annamccluskeyxx said on Twitter: "Can't believe what happened today. RIP Bailey. Thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends."

Counselling is available to pupils and staff at the school, local authority officials confirmed.

The school will be closed to pupils on Thursday and Friday. They are expected to be able to return to the academy on Monday.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also took to Twitter to say: "All my thoughts are with the family & friends of the young man who has tragically died at Cults Academy today."

Gail Gorman, the director of education and children's services at Aberdeen City Council, sent the authority's "deep and sincere condolences" to the family of the boy who died.

Addressing reporters, she said: "The school will be closed to help with the police investigation for the next two days.

"We have of course put in place counselling and support for all staff and pupils and we send our condolences to all involved in this incident."

She added that the duty of care to the children and staff was "paramount" for council bosses.

Police Scotland have not formally named the teenager but said his immediate family has been told.

Chief Inspector Graeme Mackie, the local area commander for Aberdeen South, said: "This is a shocking and extraordinary incident for Aberdeen, and firstly our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy who has sadly lost his life today.

"A full and thorough inquiry has been launched and there will be a police presence in the area for the foreseeable future.

"We are working closely with the education authorities and wider community as I am sure this incident will be felt not only in Aberdeen but much further afield."

He told reporters that teams of specially-trained detectives have been interviewing witnesses who are pupils and teachers of Cults Academy.

Police in Aberdeen tweeted: "We can confirm that the Cults Academy incident is being treated as a murder investigation."

Cults Academy is in an affluent suburb of Aberdeen and has more than 1,000 pupils. It is described on its website as a six-year comprehensive serving the Lower Deeside area.

The academy has previously topped the Scottish Schools league table on the strength of its exam results.

Holyrood's Education Secretary Angela Constance said: "I'm deeply saddened by this terrible news and my thoughts are with the pupil's family and friends.

"Aberdeen City Council has arranged for support to be available to the school's pupils and teachers. We remain in close contact with the council and stand ready to provide any help that may be needed."

Press Association

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