Spinal injuries for bashed girl, 14

By Hayley Hannan

A 14-year-old girl broke down in tears today while recovering in hospital after a "gang bashing" at school left her with extensive spinal injuries.

Adriana Kemp has several screws in her head to help her recover from spinal injuries after she was repeatedly punched by two girls at Flaxmere College.

The 14-year-old was in a stable condition and being treated at the children's ward in Hawkes Bay Hospital, said a hospital spokeswoman.

Adriana was attacked and forced to the ground as a fellow pupil repeatedly punched her on a grassy field at school. A second pupil joined in.

The attack was filmed on a cellphone and circulated around local youths.

A close family member said the full force of the brutal bashing hit the teenager today, although the attack was three weeks ago.

Adriana has been in and out of hospital for check-ups and scans since the attack, but was admitted yesterday to have screws inserted in her skull to keep her spine straight, she said.

"I think it's finally hit her after getting all those screws in her head. She's broken down. We had a big cry with her. We won't find out for a few weeks what will happen to her, whether they will have to operate."

In addition to a collar around her neck, Adriana now has multiple screws around her skull and below her ears, and had to lie still while they settled, she said.

"She's got to lay in hospital for a couple of weeks or so, and apparently she's going to be like that for six weeks."

Adriana will have to have an operation if the screws do not heal her spine correctly, she said.

The family member said since the attack, Adriana didn't want to see her friends until she was feeling better.

Adriana's younger 12-year-old brother also goes to the school, her mother Moana Hawkins and father Artemus Kemp both went to the college.

Ms Hawkins told TV3 she was disgusted that something like this would happen while her daughter was at school.

"I can't believe something like this would ever happen at school. You trust your children to go to school and be looked after, and it just didn't happen."

"We were about 20 minutes away when I got a text on her dad's phone from her phone, saying that she had been gang bashed, come down and pick her up,"

"I asked them if they could ring the police, they said no they can't do that, I had to do it. I said, you should call an ambulance for her because she couldn't move her neck properly. They said for me to take her to the doctors."

She said she was disgusted to find out that the vicious attack had been filmed, which the family found out about when the video was anonymously texted to Adriana's father.

"It was bad enough finding out that she got attacked, but when I saw the video camera, I broke down. That was shocking. I wouldn't wish that on any mother to see what I saw."

Flaxmere principal Louise Anaru told TV3 that an ambulance was not called because the family said they would take the injured girl to hospital.

She said bullying was a problem they were working on at the school.

"Bullying and fighting is a national issue, and certainly while we had some incidents at the beginning of the year, these decreased markedly over term two and three, and there were none apart from this incident in term four."

Three girls have been expelled from the school since the incident, but the family would like to see more action taken to stop other girls suffering the same fate as Adriana.

"This bullying has got to stop, it's getting too far beyond now ... Something's got to be done."

"I'm hoping they will chuck those girls out, take photos of them and announce their name for everyone to see. That's what I would like to see. Don't let them get away with it."

The family member hoped Adriana would be home for Christmas, but said the extended family would celebrate the day with her no matter where she was.

- APNZ

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