Almost 1,500 school pupils in Aberdeen given anti-weapons lessons

Almost 1,500 secondary pupils across Aberdeen have been given anti-weapons lessons in the wake of the killing of schoolboy Bailey Gwynne.

Bailey, 16, was stabbed during a fight with a fellow pupil at Cults Academy.

The schoolboy’s killer is serving nine years for culpable homicide.

An independent review into the death of Bailey in October last year found his death was “potentially avoidable” if teachers had known his attacker carried a knife.

The sessions will be rolled out next year to P7 pupils in Aberdeen.

‘Tragic incident’

Critics have questioned whether pupils would report their friends.

PC Seb Cook, of Police Scotland, told one S1 class at Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Academy: “You’ll have heard about the tragic incident that happened a year ago in Aberdeen.

“We never, ever want anything like that to happen again.

“You guys will never need to take anything sharp or dangerous into school.”

Police talk on weapons
Image captionTalks about weapons have been held at Hazlehead Academy and other schools

Hazlehead head teacher Jim Purdie said: “It’s not just about carrying weapons or blades, it’s about the legal aspect of that, and then the consequences for the pupils, for their families, for their friends.

“There’s an expression we often use, which is if we don’t know things are happening we can’t do anything about them. We are constantly reminding our children to take responsibility.

“If there’s something that is upsetting them, they know who to tell.”

‘Think of consequences’

One pupil, asked what they would do if they knew someone had a weapon, told BBC Scotland: “I would probably just go up to a teacher, maybe even up to the person and just say ‘why are you doing that, think of the consequences’.”

Another said: “People say don’t grass up a mate, but if it’s serious I think you should.”

Police Scotland was asked about incidents involving weapons in schools.

Supt Andy McKay, of Police Scotland Safer Communities, said: “Police Scotland relies on local authorities to report all incidents of weapon possession so that accurate figures can be collated.

“Following the report into Bailey Gwynne’s death, Aberdeen City have been working closely with Police Scotland to ensure each and every incident of weapon possession is reported, however it will be up to other local authorities to consider this recommendation moving forward.

“As a result, the figures collated to date may not offer a true reflection of the national picture in relation to possession of weapons in schools due to inconsistent reporting and recording methods.

“Figures represent a snapshot in time, and may not accurately portray a divisional or national perspective.”

A strategy aimed at preventing knives and weapons getting into Aberdeen schools was approved last month.

Staff will be provided with clarity on the recording of incidents in schools, pupil searches and when and how to confiscate weapons, including knives.

Other actions approved by the council include providing professional learning opportunities to teachers in order that they can deliver anti-weapon and knife crime lessons.

A review, conducted by child welfare professional Andrew Lowe, made 21 recommendations.

[Source:- BBC]