Sunday, August 30, 2009

Schoolboy beaten to death as teachers look on

Teachers run grave legal risks if they touch a student -- courtesy of Leftist "compassion" and shrieks about "child abuse"

A SCHOOLBOY squabble during morning recess escalated into a brawl that has left a 15-year-old NSW schoolboy dead. Detectives and forensic specialists descended on Mullumbimby High School in northern NSW and declared the playground a crime scene after Jai Morcom was pronounced dead in hospital on the Gold Coast yesterday.

The Year 9 student suffered massive head injuries in the fight, which began with petty bickering shortly after 11am during "little lunch'' on Friday, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Jai was transferred from Mullumbimby Hospital to Gold Coast Hospital's intensive care unit, where he was placed on life support. He died yesterday morning, 24 hours after the brawl.

His distraught mother Kim last night said: "You don't send your kids to school thinking they're going to die. "Jai was just a gentle little guy. He wasn't a fighter.'' Jai's older brother, Mayo, flew home on Friday night from the NSW ski-fields where he works, to join his devastated parents and sisters, Kyra, 26, and Jade, 22.

A Year 9 student said the fight was between two school gangs. The student said: "One of the gangs stole a seat from our eating area. We stole it back and it turned into an all-out brawl (and) the teachers did nothing''.

The student alleged Jai had been beaten to a pulp and ``it was really scary and intense. It was completely out of control''. A school nurse gave first aid until paramedics arrived, but witnesses said Jai was frothing at the mouth and non-responsive.

Forensic detectives, NSW and Queensland police have been called in to investigate and are preparing a brief for the coroner. A Year 9 classmate, who asked not to be named, said the two groups involved in the fight were the "emos'' and the "footy heads''. "Someone took someone else's table ... Jai was just walking through and the Year 11s just threw him,''she said. "We saw him on the ground and it was horrible. They just ran over the top of him when he was down and kept kicking him.''

Police feared revenge attacks. One student told Ten News last night: "This other kid's going to get killed.''

Tweed-Byron duty officer, Inspector Owen King, said there were several versions of how the incident unfolded and all would be investigated. One was that Jai may have felt unwell and was questioned by a teacher before recess because he did not appear to be himself. [Coverup coming!] "There are a number of conflicting versions and we're not going to speculate,'' Insp King said. ``That will be part of the investigation. "We need to determine exactly what happened. It was recess time, the playground was full.''

There was no CCTV footage, nor had any student filmed the fight on a mobile phone, he said. School liaison police would join councillors on campus tomorrow, he said, describing the incident as tragic and sad.

One Year 12 witness told The Gold Coast Bulletin Jai wasn't fully involved in the fight at the beginning. "He was shoved up against a brick wall near the girls' toilets by his throat. It was pretty rough then started to get more serious. "Someone spat on someone, then they just went psycho and started punching and kicking him. "All these boys came in and they were just dominating him. Then he fell and hit his head. "No one realised he had been knocked out and everyone kept kicking and punching him still.''

Education Department counsellors will attend tomorrow. "We are deeply shocked by the tragic situation that has occurred,'' a spokeswoman said. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the student at this difficult time. Additional support, including counselling, is being provided to staff and students.''

Mullumbimby High School has about 920 students and 75 teachers, and an anti-bullying policy.


More public hospital negligence -- woman dies

Her dangerous condition known but nobody cared

DAVID Cuthbertson cannot find the words to explain to his three-year-old daughter Alyssa why her mother was never able to hold her, and never will. In June 2006, having given birth by caesarean section at Nepean Hospital, Petah Kimm's blood pressure dropped suddenly. Staff failed to recognise the danger. Two hours later, at age 39, she was found dead in her hospital bed.

On Wednesday, Mr Cuthbertson will front an inquest in Sydney. ''I want this inquest to bring about change so nobody ever has to go through this again," he told The Sun-Herald. "I will not let the NSW Government sweep this under the carpet. I want them to own up."

Mr Cuthbertson and Ms Kimm were single parents when they met on the sidelines at Little Athletics near their home town of Mudgee in 2003. They became friends and gradually fell in love, creating a blended family with his son Luke and her children Steven and Nicole. "Initially I was against the idea of children because it involved IVF. But then one day I looked on as Petah nursed my brother's baby. The moment I saw the look on her face I melted. We pushed ahead with the IVF. She conceived straight away."

Alyssa was born without complication before Ms Kimm's blood pressure fell. A student midwife failed to inform senior medical staff. A Sydney West Area Health Service internal report later found that, during a changeover in nursing shifts, nobody flagged her as unwell. "Two hours passed before anyone on the next shift bothered to look. That was when Petah was found lying in bed dead," Mr Cuthbertson said.

"I've suffered with guilt. I was at the hospital until 9.30pm that night and then I went home thinking Petah was just tired. Had I stayed, maybe I could have changed this."

Last month, nurses at Nepean Hospital learnt 155 positions were being axed, including senior staff from the post-natal ward in which Ms Kimm died.

Fighting back tears, Mr Cuthbertson said: "Alyssa says 'goodnight mummy' and 'I love you' before going to bed each night." He said recently, after a family friend arrived ahead of them at their house, "I said to Alyssa, 'Guess who's going to be at our place when we get home?' She replied: 'Did you go to heaven and get mummy?' I hope one day she will understand.''

NSW Health made an out of court settlement but Mr Cuthbertson called their treatment of him during that process ''disgusting''. ''Petah and Alyssa should have been here today, playing in the park together. I want justice for them both."


Solar power a dud

Lack of savings in S.E. Queensland said to be a "mystery" but: 1). We have had a lot of rainy and overcast weather this year in the Brisbane area and: 2). Panels vary a lot in efficiency. No doubt people were given estimates based on maximum efficiency -- not the efficiency obtainable from the actual cheaper panels used

HOMEOWNERS are fuming after spending tens of thousands of dollars on solar panels only to find their power bills have stayed the same or only marginally dropped. Each of the cases involved installations by Modern Solar, which has blamed Energex meters for the problems.

One customer said he had estimated it would take 190 years to recoup the cost of the installation, when he was promised it would take 13 years in a worst-case scenario.

Energex said it was aware of the problem but, despite repeated testing of various installations, could not pinpoint the cause. Energy Ombudsman Barry Adams said there had been a rise in complaints from people unhappy with their savings. He said it appeared some companies had "over-exaggerated" the savings. Mr Adams had raised the issue with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Queensland's Office of Fair Trading.


The alcohol merrygoround spins again: Good for you, bad for you, Good for you, bad for you, Good for you, bad for you

Boozing wards off dementia? Sounds like another failure of theory. Alcohol is a neurotoxin so should make dementia worse. Other effects, such as vascular dilation, could be helpful, however. The study is another epidemiological one so I am pleased to see that the authors are properly cautious about causal inferences: "Our results suggest that alcohol drinkers in late life have reduced risk of dementia. It is unclear whether this reflects selection effects in cohort studies commencing in late life, a protective effect of alcohol consumption throughout adulthood, or a specific benefit of alcohol in late life". Putting that into plain English: Maybe heavy drinkers have to be especially healthy to survive into old age

OLDER Australians who drink up to 28 glasses of alcohol a week have a better chance of warding off dementia than those who abstain, a study shows. Data compiled from 15 global studies, including responses from more than 10,000 people, found drinkers, not teetotallers, are better off when it comes to developing diseases affecting cognitive function.

Those aged 60 and older who consumed between one and 28 alcoholic drinks each week were almost 30 per cent less likely to have Alzheimer's later on in life, the data found.

Light and moderate drinkers were also 25 per cent less likely to contract vascular dementia – associated with circulation of blood in the brain – and 26 per cent less likely to suffer from any form of dementia. The report, Alcohol Consumption as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Cognitive Decline, was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

But Professor Kaarin Anstey, from the Australian National University, warned this was not encouragement to start drinking 28 glasses of alcohol a week. "This article used all published studies to include one to 28 drinks per week, but in some countries (the range) differed – they were higher in some and lighter in others," Professor Anstey said. "Australian guidelines, for instance, don't say 28 drinks is moderate."


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