Some parents and students at Maclean High School have expressed concern at the support provided to the school following the Christchurch shooting.
Some parents and students at Maclean High School have expressed concern at the support provided to the school following the Christchurch shooting. Bill North

Claims of lack of support for MHS students after NZ attack

PARENTS and students say they have been disappointed in the lack of support provided by Maclean High School following the Christchurch tragedy.

Last Friday students not only learned of the incident overseas but soon discovered that Sharon Tarrant, a teacher at the school, was the mother of the alleged gunman.

In a statement from the Department of Education, additional counselling support was provided to students at Maclean High immediately after it was known there was a connection with the school.

A parent, who approached The Daily Examiner about the absence of support, said this statement was incorrect.

"I pulled my child aside and told them to be prepared on Monday to have a discussion at school about it or an assembly or have counselling provided," they said.

"They came home Monday afternoon and said they were told that the teachers were sworn to secrecy, not to discuss it and were trying to distance themselves from the tragedy.

"I've never faulted Maclean High and have always been impressed with the school as a whole but the lack of action on this matter has left me disappointed."

Students said attempts to talk to teachers about the incident were shut down.

"During the week my (child)'s friends were having open discussions in the playground to the point they were getting into heated debates," the parent said.

"As a concerned parent, the school has missed the opportunity to help the children voice their concerns in a controlled and supportive environment.

"I also expected there to be a condolence book or something where staff and students, even ex-students, could write messages of support to the teacher involved, but there has been nothing.

"If her workplace can't support her in that way, then who is giving her support?"

An article in Maclean High's newsletter on Thursday said the school provided support for students, encouraging parents to contact school counsellors or national support hotlines.

On Monday, a spokes- person from the alleged gunman's former school, Grafton High, spoke to students at an assembly.

Students were advised about the support available through the school and through outside agencies.

"I am sure these events impacted on school students around the world," the spokesperson said on Facebook and in an email to parents.

"Throughout this week we have ensured that students were supported through our excellent counselling and student well-being teams."

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