Last week the news told of a tragic accident at Banksia Road Public School in Greenacre. A car crashed into a classroom resulting in the deaths of two young children, injury to others and trauma to many more. The whole country has watched in horror as a moment in time has changed lives forever.
There is nothing positive about this situation and nothing anyone can say or do will make up for the loss of young lives. I feel compelled to pay tribute to the teachers and staff of the school who rallied to manage the accident scene and provide comfort to the students, community and each other. Watching from the sidelines through the media like many other people we can only imagine the devastation the school staff must feel. Our schools become like family and the impact of tragedy is deep.
In the community people rushed to help and when I read they lifted the vehicle off a child I felt a surge of gratitude that there are people who stepped forward when needed. The ambulance and police responses remind me that every day they see and do things that many of us cannot imagine.
The education community and the wider community have extended their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the two children who lost their lives. When I read of a family expressing forgiveness to the driver of the vehicle I was reminded that she is also a mother and a victim. She will carry this day forever in her mind and heart.
It is a very strong reminder to us to take extra care around schools and our young children. School zones are marked 40 km/h in peak times and school car parks are closed areas for community access. The road signs around schools indicating no stopping are much needed and should be enforced.
Schools and communities looking for ways to strengthen their knowledge of safe driving can contact their local police, city council and reputable driving schools to talk to learners, parent and new drivers. Our parent council meeting was privileged to have a Trent Driving school trainer talk and give very valuable tips for teaching young people to drive and how to avoid accidents. These things may not prevent a tragedy such as the one at Greenacre but we all owe it to each other to take as many proactive steps as possible.
Our thoughts and prayers go out the families, students, staff and community of Banksia Road Public School.
Beth Godwin, principal
Cabramatta High School