Double death was two too many

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Hirst high in Northumbria was struck by a double suicide tragedy last summer.

Gemma Dimmick, 15, died after a drugs overdose just two weeks after the death of Karl Peart, 16. Both said they had been bullied.

The school had procedures to deal with pupil depression and bullying and was cleared of any blame by the coroner and police.

Support includes buddy schemes, an assistant head dedicated to counselling, a home-school liaison officer and various reward schemes. But Ged Lee, headteacher, said the Department for Education and Skills must do more for pupils' emotional needs.

The school has received pound;500,000 for the next two years from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to pay for a social worker, police officer, nurse, an education welfare officer and for mental health support.

Mr Lee said: "The suicides had a devastating impact, but we could not have done any more. We were concerned about the lack of joined-up thinking of the organisations that are supposed to support children and their families."

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