Students attacked at bus stops


THREE Mornington Secondary College students have been assaulted at bus stops near the corner of Barkly and Main streets, Mornington.

Police are investigating the two unprovoked attacks last Tuesday afternoon and the school has warned students to be careful.

The vicious attacks have revealed gaping holes in the town’s security surveillance system.

CCTV cameras in Main St have been turned off for the past six months due to lack of funding.

New cameras are set to be in action along with safety lights in laneways by the end of the month.

The first attack happened about 4pm when one of three men in their early 20s punched two 17 year old boys in the face, leaving them with bruising, a black eye and a cut lip.

The trio, who appeared to have been drinking, then walked to the next bus stop and punched another student in the face.

One of the students was assisted by friends to a takeaway restaurant where he was given serviettes to stem the bleeding.

The mother of one of the boys, who preferred not to be named, said she spoke with shopkeepers the next day who claimed the bus stop area was “rife with violence”.

“They say it happens there all the time, but I certainly wasn’t aware of it,” she said. “We need more police on foot patrols to make the area safe.

“I have two kids and I don’t want it happening to others.”

The mother said she was traumatised and feared her son would be, too. She was adamant the attacker “should not get away with it”.

“Everyone was shocked that [the attacks] could happen in Main St in broad daylight.

“My son wasn’t at a nightclub or wandering the streets late at night: he was just going about his business and sitting at a bus stop.”

Mornington Secondary College acting principal Jim Papas described the attacks as “disturbing”.

He said year level coordinators would speak with students about the need to be alert on the streets.

“We are actively supporting the students to make sure they are OK,” Mr Pappas said.

“We have contacted the police and asked that they take steps to ensure their safety.

“They have told me they will patrol these bus stops and include them on their beat.”

Mr Papas said the attacks “have upset me greatly. I want to make sure they do not happen again. Hopefully that’s the last time.”

The mother of the other boy attacked posted on Facebook:

“I’m not sure what is happened following this, but I am very concerned about these violent men walking around Mornington as one of the first group of boys was my son, catching a bus with his friends to soccer training!”

The mother said the attackers had “not in any way [been] spoken to or provoked”.

All three victims have made statements to Mornington police.

Mornington Peninsula Shire, Victoria Police and the federal government are installing 33 CCTV cameras at Mornington, Mt Eliza and Mt Martha, as well as upgrading lighting in Mornington’s laneways.

The shire’s communications manager Mark Kestigian said the Mornington CCTV surveillance system was “being installed but is not yet operational”.

It is expected to be operating by the end of the month, and at sites in Mt Eliza and Mt Martha soon after.

First published in the Mornington News – 13 October 2015


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