All Saints says its prayers

27th February 2004 at 00:00
Floral tributes were pinned to the gates of All Saints Secondary School in Glasgow on Wednesday morning following the death of an 11-year-old Somalian refugee at the 900-pupil school.

A 12-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with the death of Suhail Saleh, after an alleged incident in the school dining hall.

It was reported as we went to press that another 12-year-old boy has been released from custody pending the result of further enquiries that have been asked for by the procurator fiscal.

Tom McDonald, the school's headteacher, paid tribute to the victim and said that prayers were offered "for the repose of his soul". Support would be available for pupils and staff.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said that a series of services were held in year groups so that every child could take part. "They were not traditional Catholic masses but ones that could be attended by pupils of all denominations at the school."

It is understood that the dead boy had been involved in a scuffle at the school shortly after 11.30am on Tuesday. He was taken to nearby Stobhill Hospital but was later pronounced dead.

Jack McConnell, the First Minister, paid tribute to the school, ironically on the day he was preparing to outline plans to attract more migrants to Scotland.

All Saints Secondary and its community, Mr McConnell said, "have an excellent record of integrating young people from other countries and cultures into their way of life.

"And in that school those young people are raising standards, improving discipline, instilling ambition in other young people, and giving young people a much wider perspective on the rest of the world."

An HMI report two years ago described it as "an improving school" that had welcomed international pupils and integrated them successfully into the community. Inspectors stated: "The pupils felt very safe, secure and happy and were making good progress in their learning. The school celebrated regularly the diversity of languages and cultures."

The report found that young people from refugee families had demonstrated a "strong motivation to learn".

Peter Peacock, Education Minister, reported the school's achievements to Wednesday's meeting of the Cabinet and said it had the biggest fall in exclusions of any school in the Glasgow area last year.

All Saints has 67 asylum-seekers as pupils and 23 who have been granted refugee status. Up to 14 nationalities study at the school. They include Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans and Eastern Europeans.

* Children under the age of 13 can only be prosecuted on the authority of the Lord Advocate.

The further enquiries ordered by the fiscal will include the results of medical tests and an examination of witness statements. A decision will then be taken on the most appropriate course of action, the Crown Office said.

Despite Scotland's vaunted children's hearings system, reporting such cases to the panel is only one option. The Crown can also instigate a prosecution or take no further proceedings.

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