An investigation into the school at the centre of a tragic shooting at Canterbury High School last year has revealed that the school had a “very high” suicide rate, with almost 80 per cent of those killed at the school attending the school for more than 12 hours a day.
“I can’t help but wonder how this school could have such a low suicide rate when there is a lot of trauma going on in the community,” Ms Jones said.
“The way we were brought up is that you never see the kids out.
It’s all family.
It wasn’t like they were out all day.
It was just like family.”
The school’s former principal was also one of the principal victims, and his suicide was the subject of a coroner’s inquest into the shooting.
In 2015, the school’s board agreed to a $5 million settlement with the families of all of the victims, as part of the school district’s settlement with families of students who died as a result of the shooting at the high school.
Ms Jones and her son, Luke, are now working to ensure more schools in Canterbury follow the same rules.
“There’s definitely some kind of a culture where if you are a victim of a crime, the family wants to see you get a job, and if you’re not they are going to go and take your money and leave you there and then you’re going to be back in the same situation,” Ms Moore said.
She said she was also disappointed to learn that the district was not doing more to support survivors.
“We need to start addressing it because that’s what’s killing us,” she said.
Ms Moore says the district has made it clear to survivors it is “not okay to go back to that school”.
She said the district is also taking a tougher stance against students with mental health problems and students who have been diagnosed with depression.
“That’s the biggest thing that has really changed is that I think it’s really important to educate and to raise awareness that we need to support people with mental illness,” she told the ABC.
“When they do come out and we have the support, we need it more than ever.”
The coroner has also heard from former students of the high-school who have experienced traumatic events, including being beaten by teachers and having their parents sent to jail.
“It is not just kids, it’s adults too,” Ms Smith said.
The school had an average attendance of just over 5,000 students.
The district will be launching a $1 million scholarship fund for students who may be at risk of suicide, and Ms Smith says she has seen that support across the community.
“What’s amazing about the community is there are so many people who have supported me, the district, the community, and so many of the people who are really caring for me,” she says.
“Some of the students have been coming here from as far as the Northern Territory.”
She says she is confident the district will make a “significant” dent in its suicide rate.
“This is the first year in a long time that we’ve had this sort of funding for suicide prevention, and we’re just looking forward to seeing what happens next year,” she adds.