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'Sleep tight beautiful' tribute as pupils mourn classmate

PUPILS and staff at the school where a 12-year-old girl died when a wall within the PE department collapsed are being offered counselling and welfare support in the wake of the tragedy.

Flowers are laid outside Liberton High School in tribute to 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.
Flowers are laid outside Liberton High School in tribute to 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.

Classes at Liberton High School in the south of Edinburgh have been cancelled for the rest of the week and the 650 youngsters enrolled there were sent home yesterday after the death of Keane Wallis-Bennett.

Council officials said the school would remain open for any pupils seeking emotional support or for teenagers studying for upcoming exams. The campus had been due to close on Friday for a two-week spring holiday.

Andy Gray, head of schools and community services at the City of Edinburgh Council, said counselling was being offered to pupils and staff, while the Church of Scotland sent its chaplaincy team to the school yesterday to offer its support.

Mr Gray said: "This is obviously a very distressing time for all the pupils, the staff, the community of Liberton High School.

"We're offering welfare support to anyone who needs it and we're co-operating fully with Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive at this very difficult time."

The Rev Dave Rankin is the Church of Scotland's associate minister at Liberton Kirk, one of the chaplains at the school.

He said: "Members of the chaplaincy team at Liberton High School went to the school as soon as we became aware of this terrible accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the girl who has died. Ministers and youth workers from a number of local churches were on hand to support both pupils and members of staff as they heard what had happened.

"The chaplaincy team will offer ongoing support and comfort to the school and the local community as the full impact of this tragedy is felt in the coming days and weeks."

Tributes were paid to Keane on social networking sites. Messages left by her friends included the lines "sleep tight beautiful" while another note read: "No child should go to school and not return home, RIP Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett. Horrible news."

A bunch of flowers left under the school entrance sign had a message which read: "Rest in peace Keane. God has gained another angel."

A number of parents congregated at the school gates after news of the tragedy emerged and began collecting their children from the premises from around 12.30pm. Many pupils were seen leaving the school covering their faces with scarves and jackets.

The death comes just months after the school had to deal with the death of another pupil.

In December pupil Jamie Skinner died after collapsing on the pitch while making his debut for Tynecastle FC under-14s. He had suffered a suspected heart attack.

Jamie's sister Sonia McCraw, writing on the day he would have turned 14, was among those paying tribute to Keane yesterday.

She wrote: "My thoughts are with her family, such sad news. RIP Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett.

"Those poor kids have been through so much and now this."

William Hall, believed to be a friend of Keane's, tweeted: "Rest in peace Keane Bennett. Schools need to make sure they are safe."

Friend Sophie Lumsden said: "RIP Keane I love you hun gone but not forgotten."

Keane's father, Clark, 47, is a chef who runs his own restaurant, Clark Bennett at the New Bell, in Edinburgh.

Last night the restaurant was closed and a sign on the door apologised for customers' disappointment, saying the closure was due to "unforeseen circumstances".

Keane's paternal grandparents, James and Anne, declined to comment at their terraced home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.

At Keane's home in the Gilmerton area of the city yesterday afternoon no-one appeared to be home and all the blinds and curtains were drawn.

Neighbours declined to comment apart from one who said: "They haven't lived here that long. This is so tragic though. It's just very sad, my thoughts are with the family."

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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