An elite Gold Coast school at the centre of a mass drug overdose which left five students fighting for life has been slammed after its principal claimed the incident has been ‘exaggerated’.
Seven students at Saint Stephen’s College are believed to have purchased a Russian designer drug similar to GHB on the dark web before using the substance at the school over the course of Wednesday.
Two of the boys, who are all aged 14 and 15, have been released from Gold Coast University Hospital, while five others remain in a critical condition and unable to speak with police.
The North Coomera school has come under fire over its handling of the drama after headmaster Dr Jamie Dorrington claimed ‘much of what the current media is saying is an exaggeration’.
Seven students at Saint Stephen’s College are believed to have purchased a Russian designer drug similar to GHB on the dark web, sparking a mass overdose at the school
The North Coomera school has come under fire over its handling of the drama. Pictured is headmaster Dr Jamie Dorrington
‘Wow! Take ownership of what happened under your own roof,’ one responded to Dr Dorrington’s Facebook post.
In his post, the principal explained that the Queensland Ambulance Service had praised the school’s response to the incident.
‘It saddens me that the [school’s] statement is focused on how the school did the right thing by the students,’ one woman responded.
‘Nothing was mentioned about the thoughts and prayers for the parents and students at this sad time.
Five studnets remain in a critical condition and unable to speak with police. One of the boys is pictured being taken to an ambulance
Dr Jamie Dorrington claimed ‘much of what the current media is saying is an exaggeration’
‘Wow! Take ownership of what happened under your own roof,’ one responded to Dr Dorrington’s Facebook post
‘It is not about making the school look good is it about the poor families suffering and having to deal with such a distressing situation.’
The woman added: ‘My son knows all of those boys and by no means is the media exaggerating.’
Others quickly jumped to Dr Dorrington’s defence.
‘Please do not attack our headmaster, he has acted with the children in mind,’ one said.
‘Very grateful that the SSC handled the situation so well and the [school’s] statement in my opinion was very appropriate,’ another wrote.
Comments on Dr Dorrington’s post were quickly shut down ‘out of respect for those involved and their families’.
The incident has shocked the school’s community, with parents of other students concerned for their children’s safety.
‘I’d have to seriously consider if I leave my children at the school, to be honest,’ parent one parent told ABC radio on Thursday morning.
In his post, the principal explained that the Queensland Ambulance Service had praised the school’s response to the incident
Dr Dorrington sent this letter to the parents and staff members of the college on Thursday
‘This is fairly serious, you would think when seven boys are silly enough to want to attempt that at school it’s not good.’
Dr Dorrington sent a letter to the parents and staff members of the college on Thursday, saying it had been a distressing and emotional 24 hours.
‘As you can appreciate, our primary focus has been on the welfare of the students who are in hospital, and supporting our broader student community through the provision of counselling services and any other support needed,’ the letter read.
‘Saint Stephen’s College takes the welfare and well-being of our students very seriously. We are cooperating fully with the Queensland Police Service’s investigation into the incident.
‘The police are best placed to thoroughly examine how and why this occurred.’
Police (pictured at the scene) are waiting on the results of toxicology tests after the suspected drug overdose
‘It would appear this was an overdose. We believe they have swallowed the drug,’ Pat Berry of Queensland Ambulance Service said. Pictured: The school
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Aubort said the college had ‘bent over backwards’ to help police with their investigations.
The seven students were found on Wednesday falling in and out of consciousness, seemingly under the influence of drugs.
Sgt Aubort said whether the boys bought the drugs over the internet was a line of enquiry.
‘We certainly do need to be sure that we can account for all of the drugs that were involved,’ he said.
‘So if there is any information out there from any person at all, be that a student or family, who has any information about the existence of more of this drug or its uses elsewhere, we’d appreciate that information to come to us.
‘No illicit drug is safe. It’s dangerous and this is a classic example of how wrong it can go when children are pushing the boundaries.’