Anti-social media

A SOCIAL media dispute between two female year 10 students is believed to have sparked last week’s alleged stabbing at Trinity College, according to the school’s head, Nick Hately.

A 16-year-old Blakeview girl was arrested and charged with aggravated assault causing harm in relation to the alleged stabbing of another girl at Trinity College North campus, in Evanston South, last Thursday morning.

The victim, a 15-year-old, sustained minor injuries to her stomach and arm, and was taken to the Lyell McEwin Hospital for treatment.
Police have confirmed they believe the incident was a targeted attack.

Updating the school community in a letter yesterday, Mr Hately stated the past week had been “one of the longest for the college”, and outlined the college’s position that “all bullying is abhorrent”.

He encouraged families to work with the college, in partnership, to put in place protective online behaviours, as schools have “very limited ability to monitor this online world”.

“The increased role of social media in student lives has substantially changed the dynamic when it comes to student interactions beyond school,” he wrote.

“Developmentally, teens have heightened emotional experiences without yet having fully developed the skills to balance these, including impulse control, planning and the capacity to predict the impact of their actions.

“This is especially the case between the ages of 13 and 16 years, but can extend out into early adulthood.

“This plays out in all environments, including online.”

On the day of the alleged attack, Mr Hately wrote to parents, staff and other members of the school’s community, twice, to keep them updated on the “appalling incident”, stating “in our history we have not faced a situation like this”.

“It seems, essentially, a major recent dispute occurring primarily outside the college via social media, between two year 10 girls, has led to an alleged targeted attack shortly after arriving at school,” Mr Hately wrote.

“While this event is an isolated one, counselling support has been offered and will be ongoing to any student or staff member who requires it.”

Mr Hately said Trinity College would advocate for any law that made it easier for police, or schools, to investigate allegations of online bullying, and called on social media organisations to be more accountable and faster in removing inappropriate and inflammatory material.

“As a society we need to come together to prevent violence or self-harm in our kids,” he said.

“Collectively, we have to do better.”

The 16-year-old girl was bailed to appear in the Elizabeth Youth Court on October 13.


Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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