#schoolsafety | Young victim hit by car at school named

The young schoolgirl hit by a car at Pigeon Mountain Primary School last week has been named as 5-year-old Joanna Kong from Bucklands Beach in Auckland.

She died from her injuries at the city’s Starship Hospital yesterday and her death has shaken both the school and the wider community.

A 77-year-old man connected to the incident was forbidden to drive by police after the accident.

“Any further decisions around his eligibility for driving will be for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to make,” police said at the time.

Messages of support have been posted on the school’s Facebook page after the principal and a board member confirmed yesterday afternoon that she had died earlier in the day.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are sharing news with you about our student who was injured on Tuesday. She passed this morning with family by her side. We are supporting and helping the family where possible. Our sympathies and love go out to her family and we will be striving to provide them with any support they need,” the school notice said.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown said the girl’s death was a tragedy, and as a father of two young daughters himself he couldn’t imagine the pain and grief the family of the girl must be going through.

“It’s been a real shock to the community, there’s been a real outpouring of love and concern to the family who have lost their young daughter in these tragic circumstances.”

Brown had been keeping in close contact with the school and said he knew they were providing as much support as they could.

“Obviously a very difficult circumstance for them as well and they’ve been putting a lot of support around other students and also the staff there as well to make sure everyone has the support they need as they go through this very sad time.

“The principal is doing everything he can to provide a really supportive environment for his children and staff, but this something no principal of a school would want to have to deal with a situation like this.”

Pigeon Mountain Primary School Principal Ian Dickinson said: “We are still respecting the privacy of the family who have lost a child, who will be dearly missed. As a school, we are devastated and we are working to support each and every member of our community.”

A school parent posted on social media that the girl’s death had rocked “our little pigeon mountain community” but praised how the school had handled it.

Staff from neighbouring schools Waka Aranga Primary, Farm Cove Intermediate and Sunnyhills Primary have also posted their condolences on the school’s Facebook page, with one teacher saying the little girl had been in their hearts and minds.

“Such heartbreaking news, I feel deeply for the family, it should have been lots of beautiful years ahead in our lovely caring school. Such a tragedy. Rest in peace little Angel♥️ Sincere condolences to the family,” one person posted.

Others offered to donate money to help towards the girls family or to provide meals or baking for the girl’s grieving family or to help in any way they could.

The news would affect the whole community, another said.

The school is being supported by the Ministry of Education and its library had been set up as a safe space for children to speak about it.

The police investigation is ongoing.

Brown said there was a wider traffic safety issue facing not only by Pigeon Mountain Primary School, but other schools in East Auckland where the rolls had grown due to infill housing in the area and as a result this had a negative impact on traffic in the area.

“I think there does need to be some conversations around school safety more broadly … The reality is around Macleans College and those school around there, the population growth is taking place rapidly because there is a lot of demand for those schools and that does increase the amount of traffic around them which is a serious issue.”

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