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‘Words can’t express the sorrow’ as special needs school St Lucy’s mourns shock student death

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family for the loss of their child and the community of St Lucy’s who mourn the loss of a student and friend," Bishop Anthony Randazzo said.

Marilyn Rodrigues
Marilyn Rodrigues
Marilyn Rodrigues is a journalist for The Catholic Weekly. She also writes at marilynrodrigues.com. Email her at [email protected]
School communities are being urged to rally around students and teachers after a young boy died when he became stuck under a lift. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
School communities are being urged to rally around students and teachers after a young boy died when he became stuck under a lift. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

The close-knit community at St Lucy’s School in Wahroonga is reeling in “total shock and disbelief” after a student died at the independent Catholic school in Sydney’s north on 1 November.

Emergency services were called to the special needs primary and high school around 2pm after the 10-year-old boy was trapped under a lift.

Sadly, he died at the scene despite rescue efforts.

Fr Kelvin Lovegrove and Fr Sam French, the parish priest and priest in residence at Holy Name Parish in Wahroonga, joined a prayer service this morning for parents, staff and members of the community.

“Quite literally words can’t express the sorrow and pain that people were feeling after gathering for a time of prayer and reflection,” Fr French told The Catholic Weekly.

“I had conversations with some members of staff and people are having different reactions to this terrible tragedy but the prevailing sentiment is total shock and disbelief.

“It’s extremely important as a parish community and the Christian community at large that we unite in prayer for the soul of the young boy and also for his family and for the school community as they navigate this extraordinary hurt.”

People had already begun laying flowers at the school gate, which said it would be closed until further notice and is cooperating with a police investigation.

“St Lucy’s is very sad to confirm the tragic death of one of our students this afternoon,” said a school statement on 1 November.

“We ask for privacy and space for our students, families and staff to grieve at this difficult time as we remember our beautiful student.”

Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo also said he was “deeply saddened” in a statement.

“St Lucy’s undertakes an important mission in the diocese by educating children with disabilities and supporting their families,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family for the loss of their child and the community of St Lucy’s who mourn the loss of a student and friend.

“We will provide any support that may be needed.

“Meantime, I ask all in our community to join me in offering prayers at this very sad time.”

St Lucy’s School caters for students with a wide range of disabilities including mild to severe intellectual disability, autism and sensory impairments and is a ministry of Dominican Education Australia.

The Catholic Weekly approached Dominican Education Australia chief executive officer Robert Napoli for comment on the tragedy.

Mr Napoli said he was waiting for the principal of St Lucy’s, David Raphael, to write to the school community first before making a public statement.

“We will in due course, but we are respecting the process and giving time to the St Lucy’s community,” he said.

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