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NSW: Teenagers charged after violent school rampage

By Kim Christian
02 Mar 2009 6:02 PM

SYDNEY, March 2 AAP - Four teenagers allegedly terrorised students and staff with a tomahawk and a machete during a glass-smashing rampage at a Sydney private school.

Trinity Catholic College in Auburn went into lockdown about 8.15am (AEDT) on Monday after the school canteen, a car and glass noticeboards were destroyed.

Police arrested two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old in the school playground shortly before the first class of the day.

A search led to the arrest of an unarmed 17-year-old Bankstown youth in nearby Park Road about 10 minutes later.

Three of the youths have been charged and held in custody, while the fourth, a 16-year-old from Auburn, was released pending further inquiries.

The youths were allegedly yelling out the name of a student as they made their way through the school.

Teachers had called emergency services and staff managed to "isolate" the teenagers from students before officers arrived, police said.

No one was injured in the incident, but two women were in the canteen during the attack and one teacher was allegedly pushed.

Desperate parents were unable to enter the school grounds shortly after the attack as the 900 students were locked in.

Police are investigating whether the youths were looking for a student at the school, but Flemington Inspector Darren Cloake dismissed reports it was a dispute over a girl at the co-ed college.

Both the school and police said the youths were not current or former students.

Police said staff members were jostled out of the way as the youths allegedly left a trail of broken glass in the canteen area.

"A number of staff members were confronted," Insp Cloake told reporters.

"The school has procedures for an invasion of this nature. They are very rare, but all schools are required to have lockdown procedures."

Students and teachers were being counselled, he said.

Some older students were sent home for the day while younger children waited to be collected by relatives.

Tracey Kostadinoska waited for more than 90 minutes for news of her 14-year-old son after seeing a crowd of hundreds of parents and children outside the school.

"When I dropped off my son this morning there were police cars and afterwards coming round the corner I saw this whole big group of people and cars," she told AAP.

"There were about 1,000 parents waiting for their children so I thought I'd get mine too."

The Catholic Education Office said the school acted immediately and police responded promptly.

A 15-year-old and 16-year-old from Auburn, and the 17-year-old from Bankstown, all face six charges, including three counts of malicious damage and two of assault and affray.

They were refused bail to appear at Parramatta Children's Court on Tuesday.