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Surrey teenager died after reading about suicide on school iPad


Surrey teenager died after reading about suicide on school iPad

A 15-year-old autistic girl took her own life after an “enormous and systemic failure” by her special needs school left her with unfiltered access to online materials about suicide, a coroner has concluded.

Frances-Rose Thomas, known as Frankie, took steps to end her life at home in Witley, Surrey, in September 2018, after earlier the same day reading a story on an iPad provided by her school in which a character died by suicide.

The inquest heard that the tablet computer had no internet filter software installed to prevent users from accessing unsuitable content, and that Frankie had been accessing suicide-related material for months.

Reading out her conclusion at Surrey coroner’s court on Wednesday, the assistant coroner Karen Henderson said she believed Frankie was influenced by the material she accessed.

“Frances-Rose Thomas had a number of underlying vulnerabilities, including significant childhood trauma, high-functioning autism and impulsivity,” Henderson said. “She died at 6.57pm on 25 September 2018 at Royal Surrey County hospital after being found unresponsive … at her home address at or around 5pm the same day, an hour after she was last known to be alive.

“On the day of her death Frances had unrestricted access to the internet at school and in the absence of any effective e-security monitoring system and personal supervision, she sought out and read stories about members of her favourite band featuring suicidal acts. She left a note declaring an intention to end her life.”

The inquest heard that that while attending Stepping Stones school in Hindhead, Frankie was given unfiltered access to an iPad despite having a “bespoke education plan” to avoid such a thing. An investigation into the computer after her death found she had been able to access material relating to self-harm and suicide over a few months. This was an “enormous and systemic failure on the part of the school”, Henderson said.

“I am satisfied that Frances-Rose Thomas died by way of suicide,” Henderson said. “I find the way in which Stepping Stones school failed to ensure sufficient e-monitoring of Frankie’s iPad, and follow her bespoke educational plan, more than minimally contributed to her actions later that day.”

After the inquest, Frankie’s parents, Judy and Andy Thomas, said they were horrified when they learned about the material their daughter had been able to access at school, “where we assumed she would be kept safe”. They called on schools, particularly special needs schools, to supervise pupils when online and to make sure their computers have “the highest levels of filtering”, not only to block unsuitable content but also to alert staff to any attempt to access it.

The Thomases also called on the Department for Education to ensure the safeguarding of pupils from online harms is standardised across all schools.

“Frankie was such a big part of our lives and it was a total privilege to be her parents and we were proud of her,” they said. “She had such potential and we believed in her 100%. She was seriously unique and we miss her terribly and still cannot believe she has gone.”

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12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.


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Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.



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