Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{BULLIES GIVE LISMORE BAD NAME} {Family 'Did Not Want to Leave' }; Distress at Claims Thugs Drove a Grieving Family from the City

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{BULLIES GIVE LISMORE BAD NAME} {Family 'Did Not Want to Leave' }; Distress at Claims Thugs Drove a Grieving Family from the City

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Irby ross.irby@northernstar.com.au

LISMORE'S reputation has been tarnished by national revelations the family of a teenager who killed himself were forced to leave the city after they too became targets of ongoing harassment.

The suicide of 14-year-old Kadina High student Alex Wildman because of bullying has been followed by claims his grieving and emotionally broken family were then harassed so badly by a group of thugs in Lismore they were forced to flee to Sydney.

The fallout from the national publicity has tagged Lismore as an uncaring community and cast a stain over its youth.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said she was dismayed by the allegation and the bleak shadow it cast over her city.

Now the subject of a NSW coronial investigation, the death of Year 9 student Alex Wildman in July is still raw within the school community, and the tragedy is under further scrutiny following the allegations his stepfather, mother and siblings were subjected to an ongoing onslaught of harassment and violent threats at their home on Ballina Road - so bad that they felt their life here had became unbearable and they had no choice but to leave.

Cr Dowell said she would not want Lismore youth to be branded as callous.

"My deep confidence is that the youth here are wonderful young people," she said.

"I wouldn't want to brand all of them thoughtless or callous from what could be the actions of a small minority. It is deeply regrettable if people have taken this action. It is a police matter and I put my faith in the police to investigate these allegations thoroughly.

"It is not appropriate to just deny what (they said) happened.

"I am split between the town I love and understanding a family's deep grief.

"Anyone who is a parent can only imagine how torn apart this family is. I deeply regret if Lismore is painted as a town that was not supporting a family undergoing a deep trauma."

Yesterday, Alex's grandfather, Les Osborne, said the family did not blame Lismore for their problems and that they had enjoyed their life here until Alex's death.

The family moved to the region this year. …

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