We were so sorry to hear about the death yesterday of a 10 year old boy who died in a firearm incident in Dargaville and believed it to have been a tragic case of misadventure because the death was not going to be treated as suspicious. Our thoughts were with the boy’s family for their unimaginable loss.
Today more details of the incident have emerged in the press, including the child’s name – Oliver Nicolson – a bright and “sensitive sweetheart” who attended the Dargaville Primary School. His mother told Rose Stirling of the Dargaville News the gun that killed him was kept in a locked gun safe and that
“(she) said she had tried talking to her son about bullying but, “he never opened up about it”.
She also said her son had wagged school on Friday because he had not done his homework “and was worried about being told off”.
Although he had been quiet and reserved in the past, in recent months he had been “particularly confident and happy”, Mrs Nicolson said.
The parents described their son as loving and caring. Mrs Nicolson said her husband had a special bond with Ollie.
“I will miss him bouncing off the walls,” says Mrs Nicolson.”
The article went on to state that Senior Sergeant Ken Andrews could not comment on whether the police would be looking at bullying as part of their inquiries. A coroner’s investigation is said to be underway.
Youth suicide is a significant problem in New Zealand which is ranked first in the world for suicides in young people aged 15-24. It’s so awful that such a young child could be driven to take his own life that we find it hard to comprehend what is being inferred in the news report, surely a child so young could not feel so desperate?
Is there a precedent for this? Unfortunately yes, a bullied 10 year old boy tried to jump from the roof of Ascot Community School in Invercargill in February.
The Ministry of Health published a Youth Suicide Prevention guide in 2003 as a resource for schools but we’re not sure how many primary schools, if any, are following it.
Further reading: “Stop the Violence” – “Bullying is a big problem in New Zealand and it’s important that we all work to stop it. Growing up can be hard enough without this added hurt and rejection and we believe that no child should have to suffer……”