THE family of a 15-year-old boy who drowned in floodwaters during an excursion with one of Sydney's most prestigious schools has spoken for the first time about how the tragedy left them in emotional and financial ruin.
The Chainas are suing Scots College and the Presbyterian Church for a record $109 million in the NSW Supreme Court after their son Nathan was killed when he fell into a swollen creek at the school's Glengarry campus in Kangaroo Valley on October 24, 1999.
In their first sit-down interview in the 14 years since his death, the Chaina family, from Vaucluse in the city's east, said they had spent $20 million in legal fees seeking justice over the tragedy, which has left them battling depression and suicidal thoughts.
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Second, could the school be reasonably expected to foresee a danger like this? If I was on a school excursion into the city museum and walking across the road at the crossing a drunk driver runs us over, is the school expected to be culpable if there isn't a trained EMT along to aid any thing like this?
Third, Less than a year before this (December 1998) I was involved in a High School camp that resulted in the drowning of three people at a beach. It wasn't run directly by the school, but it did allow the preacher who ran the camp to advertise it at our school. Should the school be held responsible for not checking up to make sure the camp was safely run? To cut costs, the camp organiser took us to an unmanned beach rather than travel to a populated area where lifeguards were on duty (or alternatively pay the Life-saving club to come and man the beach while we were there). Can I claim $109 million dollars from the government because I want some extra cash? Maybe I'll contact all the people who were at the camp with me, and we can launch a Class Action suit with the Australian government?
I feel for the family who lost a son and a brother. I feel for them in a way most people in Australia can't. But I don't in any way support their decision to open a lawsuit against the organisation their school belongs to. Perhaps if they had spent the last 14 years grieving instead of spending $20 million dollars to force the school to accept blame, then perhaps they would have gotten over the post-traumatic stress issues and be a normally functioning family that isn't always depressed and suicidal?
Edited by Paranoid Android, 22 July 2013 - 03:16 PM.