Merrylands High School machete attack

7/04/2008, Parramatta Sun:

Two people were taken to hospital after several young men armed with bats and a machete stormed a Sydney high school, attacking students and teachers and leaving a trail of damage, police say.

A total of 18 children were treated by ambulance crews at the scene following the incident at Merrylands High School, in Sydney's west, about 9.45am (AEST) on Monday.

An Ambulance Service of NSW spokesman said one student was later admitted to Westmead Children's Hospital for treatment of a "minor facial injury".

A teacher was also taken to Westmead Hospital with bruising to the back of the head.

"We've assessed 18 school-aged children ... all having minor injuries, some lacerations, some bruising and they're obviously quite anxious about what has happened," the ambulance spokesman said.

The group of armed youths allegedly damaged classrooms, broke windows and assaulted students during the incident, police said.

The school and students were placed in "lockdown" - confined to their classrooms - as the incident unfolded.

"Police were called to the high school on Sherwood Road following reports a number of males had entered the school grounds," a NSW Police Force spokeswoman said earlier.

"They allegedly damaged a number of classrooms (and) a number of students received minor injuries.

"Some were assaulted by the group and others received injuries from the flying glass." ...

Five young men were arrested shortly after police arrived at the scene. A crime scene has been established ...

Terror as gang of five rampages through school, the Age:
"They said they were looking for someone," said Joseph Strasshofer, a year 12 student at the school. "(They were) not yelling … just walking around and waving their machetes and baseball bats."

"They came in from the side and started pushing people," said a year 10 student.

"We were having assembly and a bunch of guys walked in with machetes and baseball bats. They said they were looking for some kid, and teachers made announcement and rushed us into classrooms and locked us in," another student said.

"I saw a lot of punching and kicking and bashing," another said.

A year 10 student said the gang was made up of students from neighbouring Granville Boys High School who were looking for a boy who was absent yesterday. Students described the attackers as being of Pacific Islander appearance.

Former students said there had been tensions between the school's Pacific Islander students and other student groups for many years. "The information we've been given is that they were … looking for someone but we don't know exactly what for," Detective Inspector Jim Stewart said. "It beggars belief they would attempt this kind of activity against innocent students."

Teachers reacted swiftly. Students were quickly ushered into rooms and the library as part of an emergency lockdown. Some cowered under desks, petrified.

The intruders entered two of the school buildings, running through corridors and smashing as many windows as they could. Broken glass showered students huddled in the classrooms, leaving some with cuts.

A male teacher who confronted the invaders was allegedly hit from behind. Minutes later, police arrived and confronted the five boys, who did not resist arrest.

The boys — two aged 14, one 15, and one 16 — were expected to be charged with affray, assault and malicious damage, Detective Inspector Stewart said.

One of those arrested, a 15-year-old Granville Boys High student from Merrylands, was on bail, charged over two armed robberies last Wednesday.

Photos from Parra Sun

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