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Nine months on – school closures still cut deep

Since the closure of our local Primary School, our son Andrew (not real name) has been riding his bike a much longer distance to another school. On his ride recently, two teenagers smashed a bottle near him, picked up large pieces of the bottle chased him and threatened to get him. Fortunately he was able to ride away from them but it left him so terrified that he couldn’t even talk about it and understandably he no longer wants to ride to school. That was just the beginning …

As our work commitments do not enable us to pick him up from school, and no one else is able to help, we thought we would see how he would go on the ACTION bus that travels this route and has a bus stop at the school. Our son is not comfortable with the idea of buses and it was a big deal to get him to a point where he would try catching a bus.

The first time he hailed the bus, the driver saw him but made no attempt to stop. I complained to ACTION about this and was told that the driver had been spoken to and I had the Depot Manager’s word that it would not happen again.

The next day my husband took time off his demanding work schedule for a second attempt to help Andrew catch the bus. Once again, the bus sailed straight past the bus stop, even though he was clearly hailing it. My husband followed the bus in our car to the end of the route and had words with the driver. The driver admitted that they had seen Andrew and he admitted that the stop was on his route, but he said for some reason he did not believe that he should have to stop at the primary school.

We once again phoned ACTION and complained and the Depot Manager once again told us that it wouldn’t happen again. We hope that it might be sorted out now, but Andrew has again been threatened with violence.

While he was waiting for the bus, two teenage boys from another school approached him and tried to sell him cigarettes. When he declined, they asked him how much money he had on him. When he said nothing, they threatened to have him beaten up .I reported this to the police, but they said there was nothing they could do.

This whole incident has been another big setback for us after being so happy at our school that was closed. We have spoken to our new school because Andrew is depressed, crying all the time and frightened of going back. He is having trouble making friends.

Andrew is receiving some counselling at the school; however, the counsellor is stretched between a number of different schools and does not have adequate time for Andrew. We raised this issue at an individual consultation meeting last year because Andrew has special needs. Many promises were made about transition including that additional counselling resources would be made available – however this has not been the case.

I am at my wit’s end trying to find a way for him to safely and affordably access schooling. This is the second time in the last month that he has been threatened with violence while trying to attend school and the government is not arranging any safer alternatives. I called Andrew Barr’s office last week to complain but they weren’t interested and said I should take it up with ACTION.

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn