Monthly Archives: September 2018

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‘Information black hole’: Parents not properly informed after school assaults

Parents with children at Haberfield Public School have been left in an “information black hole”, saying they were not given enough details or support after a man attacked four girls in the playground on Friday morning.

Police said they were continuing to investigate the sexual assault of one girl, the indecent assault of two others and an attack on another girl as the students were in a stairwell at the school about 10.20am.

The attack happened in “less than a minute” and the unknown man ran away, police said.

Several parents have expressed their concern to Fairfax Media, saying a letter sent home with children from principal Karlynne Jacobsen did not provide enough information about such a serious incident.

The letter said: “You may be aware that there was an alleged incident today that occurred at the school involving an unauthorised person on site.”

It said staff and students “responded immediately” and that police arrived quickly.

“You will appreciate that an event such as this is most unusual and may affect people in different ways. If you are concerned about your child please talk to him or her and if necessary contact the school.”

Alex Brooks, a mother with two boys in year five and six, said protecting the victims was the first priority, but she was disappointed with the school’s communication.

“They told the kids a different story, that’s my impression. There was a critical incident with a stranger and that’s it,” Ms Brooks said.

“Then to have the story on the news … kind of left parents in an information black hole.”

She said when her ex-husband picked up their children, staff did not talk to parents about what happened.

“There were no teachers at the gates talking to parents to tell them what happened.

“The note says nothing. It doesn’t make anything clear at all.”

Ms Brooks said she called police and the school to try and clarify details, but she could only contact the school cleaner and police didn’t return her call.

Eventually her mother in Tasmania rang her with more details after she saw a television news report.

The Education Department has been contacted for comment.

Haberfield Public School parents and citizens association president, Nicholas Davison, said he understood the principal’s letter was heavily vetted by the department and police.

“The focus is on the welfare of the children on that day, that was the focus of the school and I support that,” Mr Davison said.

He said staff and parents would analyse what happened and discuss whether any changes need to be made to security and the school’s communication methods.

Some parents also pointed to a letter sent by the principal at nearby St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Summer Hill, which gave parents more details about what happened at Haberfield.

Ms Brooks, who had not seen the St Patrick’s letter, said mobile or email contact from the Haberfield school would have been better.

“I can’t stress that enough, how much easier it would have been. It’s much easier to communicate these days, so why aren’t we?”

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Emma Watson: I almost quit acting after Harry

Emma Watson, best known as the Hogwarts swot Hermione Grainger, considered giving up acting altogether at the close of the Harry Potter series. For two years, she studied solidly and refused so much as to read a script. The point was “to figure out what I enjoyed, who I was and how I wanted to spend my time,” she said yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival. “I considered not being an actress; I considered it all.”

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Clearly, she decided that acting was for her after all. Watson is currently in Cannes promoting The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola’s blistering true-crime film about a group of Los Angeles schoolgirls who robbed the houses of the celebrities they admire. Watson masters a formidably whining Valley Girl accent to play Nicky, who sees her eventual arrest as a promotional opportunity. “Nicky does not think she is going to jail. That is absolutely not entering her head,” said Watson. “This is her five minutes of fame; this is her time to brand herself.”

Watson has lived with her own celebrity since she was 11, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone launched the most successful of all cinema franchises. Unlike Nicky, she describes herself as “quite shy”. “She wants to be seen and she dresses to impress, whereas when I’m not working I dress to draw as little attention to ‘me’ as possible,” she said.

She believes she learned a great deal about herself during her two years away from public scrutiny. “You start to accept things in your personality. I think I really used to beat myself up about not wanting to go out, I thought there was something really peculiar about me.  But I just gave up trying to fit in so much. I am much more OK with myself now, which is important.”

A canny agent lured her back to work, she says, by sending her the script of The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a bit of weekend reading. “And I don’t know what it was, but something just clicked and I felt compelled to get the film made.”

Then along came Sofia Coppola’s script, which spoke to her own experience. “No one really makes films about the underbelly of this industry and what it’s like to be a real human being in it. I live that. I think that is why Sofia and I connected, that we both understand that.”

The Facebook generation has unprecedented access to the rich and famous, she observed during the press conference that followed the film’s first Cannes screening.

“We are becoming saturated with images. They can embody whatever they [fans] project onto that image, so in a sense people really feel invested, feel connected to that person and that world.” But these images, she cautioned, have little to do with reality. “It’s a narrative that our society and culture has really become obsessed with.”

Despite being part of that narrative, she found Los Angeles “like an alien planet” when she first went there. “I mean, I grew up in the countryside in a small town in England. It really is just like polar opposites.”

If anything, working on The Bling Ring has only confirmed her sense that she belongs to a different world.  “I think the film has scarred me slightly,” she said. “I just see a designer bag and – I can’t even carry one any more. It just weirds me out.”

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‘Confusion’ over advantage rule: Scott

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says that there is still some confusion among the Kangaroos players about the “advantage rule”.

However, he did not blame an incident in the third term of Friday night’s clash against West Coast for his side’s two-point loss.

It was the third loss North has suffered by less than a goal in eight rounds to start the 2013 season. They now slump to a 3-5 win-loss record and host Adelaide at Etihad Stadium next week.

AFL leading goal kicker Lindsay Thomas was robbed of a chance of taking a set shot at goal from 40m after being awarded a free kick, because his teammate, under pressure from an Eagles defender, was deemed to have advantage.

Trailing by three points, Ryan Bastinac was called to play on “with advantage” by the umpire even though he clearly stopped running once the whistle was blown to reward the free kick.

At the time, the Eagles had just taken the lead for the first time since the 21-minute mark of the first term.

Bastinac missed the shot and the Eagles ran the ball to the other end of the ground where Josh Hill slotted took an exciting high-flying mark and kicked a goal from 40m out to take West Coast’s lead out to eight points.

“Yeah, there is (some confusion),” Scott said of the advantage rule. “I was with the distinct understanding that if you stopped when you had the ball, it’s your free kick.

“Ryan Bastinac stopped and looked at the umpire and he was called to play on. I mean, isn’t that Bastican’s call? That was my understanding.

“I mean, I thought he chose not to take the advantage, but you see that a lot. Is it a players call or once the umpires call it, is it play on regardless of what the player then does?

“I’m not sure, but again, we will focus on what we can control. I didn’t think Ryan should have played on initially even though he stopped straight away.”

Scott said that despite the “disappointing” loss, there were a lot of positives to take out of his side’s performance.

North led the Eagles by 17 points at quarter time having dominated almost every aspect of the game. They probably should have led by more at the first break considering they went forward 22 times to the Eagles nine.

They even led by 15 points 11 minutes into the final term.

“How long were we leading for? Just about the entire game,” he said.

“So, it obviously bitterly disappointing to loose from that position; but we didn’t close it out. We were never able at any point of the game to put in beyond doubt, even though we probably kept them at arm’s length, but we couldn’t break the margin any further than that.

“They’re a good side. They kept persisting and kept coming at us; thought they would. We made a couple of mistakes at the end and they did a couple of very good things.

“It’s pretty gut wrenching obviously.

“But there is a lot to like about the way we are playing; there is a lot to like about our footy side. I think we have to keep focussing our team on the fundamentals of the game.

“The little tiny things are killing us. But they are really fixable. And that’s the exciting thing.

“We played West Coast at their home ground, Hawthorn (loss by three points), Geelong (loss by four points), Sydney (loss by 39) and being for large parts of all of those games, had them under control.

“If there are better teams in the competition – Fremantle, Essendon – we’ve played most of them and been pretty competitive against them all. So we have a lot of positives to take out of it.”

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Injury concerns plague Eagles

West Coast’s medical staff will be working overtime this week as the Eagles prepare to meet Greater Western Sydney next Saturday at Skoda Stadium.

But what’s new.

It seems that injury concerns have plagued the Eagles every round so far.

Last night’s two-point win over North Melbourne sees the Eagles recover from a horrid 1-4 start to the season to be 4-4.

They play Richmond (at home) and St Kilda (Etihad Stadium) before the round 12 bye.

But Will Schofield, Jacob Brennan, Luke Shuey and Sharrod Wellingham must be in doubt to meet the Giants.

Schofield suffered a compound fracture to a finger, Wellingham was subbed out of the game just after quarter-time with an ankle injury and Brennan looked dazed after clashing heads with Roo Sam Wright.

Shuey left the field late in the second term favouring his shoulder after copping a bump from North forward Drew Petrie. He also rolled his ankle later in the game.

Wellingham is the only one of the trio who did not take any further part in the game.

“I haven’t had any medical report on him (Shuey) as such. But he finished the game out. Obviously took that strong mark and kicked a crucial goal for us late. That makes everything feel better,” Worsfold said.

“(Schofield suffered a) compound dislocation of a finger. Because the skin gets broken he goes into surgery tonight to wash it out, and remove any chance of infection before they sew it up.

“And while they’re doing that they check if anything is damaged in there.

“So probably likely to miss a couple of weeks.

“He put his hand up (to go back on). The good one; the other one was throbbing. But he said ‘if you need me to go out there I’ll go and I can’t really handle the footy but I’ll try and give something just to get someone a rest for five or six minutes’ which he did.

“That may have helped us.”

The Eagles have a tough run straight after the bye, with Hawthorn (away), Essendon (home), Adelaide (away), Fremantle and Sydney (home) in the five rounds (13-17) straight after the bye.

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Train schedule revamp to come in its own good time

Losing out: Trains are expected to skip certain stations, including Kogarah, Revesby and Lindfield. Photo: Kate GeraghtyThe state government is resisting calls to reveal details of its new train timetables after a leaked draft of the drastic changes sent commuters across Sydney into a spin.

As Fairfax Media reported on Friday, the government is proposing the biggest timetable changes in almost a decade, including an extra 700 services a week.

But trains will skip certain stations, and commuters from Kogarah, Revesby and Lindfield emerged as big losers. Those around Epping and Chatswood and the eastern suburbs will gain services.

Opposition Leader John Robertson called on Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian to release the proposal for scrutiny, saying it would mean ”huge changes” across the rail network when it is introduced in October.

”The minister needs to tell us what services will be cut and will smaller stations be losing services,” Mr Robertson said.

”The government shouldn’t be hiding this timetable … commuters have a right to know what the new timetable will mean for them.”

Ms Berejiklian said the changes had not been finalised, but would result in a simpler timetable, more regular trains at peak times and fewer stops on long services.

Commuters on the Herald’s website on Friday criticised cuts to some inner west stations and a lack of express services to Newcastle and the central coast. Changes to stopping patterns on the Southern Highlands and Airport & East Hills lines also prompted concern.

But Sydney Business Chamber western Sydney director David Borger said more frequent services on the Cumberland Line between Campbelltown and Blacktown would improve travel across the west. He described as ”absurd” the claim that almost all lines lead to central Sydney.

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