West Lothian school death: teenager named as Scotland's First Minister says death is 'worst tragedy'
The young teen's family said they believed he was being bullied at school, and had been involved in another incident the day before his death
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Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the death of a teenage boy in West Lothian is "the worst tragedy", as the family claim he was being bullied. The 14-year-old, who has been named locally as Hamdan Aslam, died in hospital on Tuesday afternoon (6 June). The headteacher of St Kentigern’s Academy described the situation as an "isolated incident" on school grounds.
Emergency services were called to the school in Blackburn, West Lothian in Scotland on Tuesday afternoon (6 June). A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 1.20pm on Tuesday June 6, officers were called to a report of concern for a 14-year-old boy at a school in the Bathgate area.
“He was taken by ambulance to hospital for treatment, but died a short time later," he added. “His family have been informed and inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the death.”
What do we know so far?
The 14-year-old has been named locally as Hamdan Aslam. Edinburgh News - NationalWorld's sister title - reports the young teen's family said they believed he was being bullied at school, and had been involved in another incident the day before his death.
Cousin Sana Khaliq said Hamdan had lost his life “during break time” and “suffered a horrible death whilst many stood around and watched”. She denied rumours which had been circulating on social media that Hamdan died after taking part in a TikTok trend.
In a public statement on social media, she said: "I’m sorry but wherever this [rumour] has come from needs checked as an incident occurred with him yesterday around a fight which we believe has continued to today resulting in the loss of life.”
Zain Mohammed, another relative, echoed her concerns and said Hamdan had been "put in a chokehold” by “a boy who’s been bullying him”. He added: “The worst thing about it is that it’s being passed off as a game they were playing called tap out. This wasn’t the case. He was being singled out and bullied for being different.”
What has Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf said?
Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf called the death "the worst tragedy", while offering the condolences of "the entire government" to the boy's family. He added that there may be lessons for government to learn as well as for the council and schools.
The boy’s death was raised at the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s Questions today (8 June) by Fiona Hyslop, SNP MSP for Linlithgow. She said: “There’s a family in my constituency who are facing unimaginable heartache as the son they sent to school this week tragically died. I won’t speculate on the causes while the authorities investigating are yet to report. Can the First Minister reassure me that any lessons from this will be shared?” She also appealed for the family to be given privacy at such a painful time.
The Scottish First Minister responded: "This is the worst tragedy. Anybody who is a parent will know there cannot be a worse fear, a worse nightmare that any parent has than losing a child, so I cannot think what the family are going through. But I know that the whole community, including the school community, has been deeply affected. Of course, lessons should be learned, not just by the local authority and educational institutions but there may well be lessons for government to consider as well.”
He ended by saying he wanted to pay his "personal, and indeed the condolences and respects of the entire government to the family affected.”
What has the headteacher said?
A statement posted on the school’s website said emergency services were called following an isolated incident within the school grounds.
“Everyone in our school community has been devastated to learn of the tragic death of one of our pupils," headteacher Andrew Sharkey said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends and we extend our deepest condolences and offers of support." The school had set up ongoing emotional support services for students and staff affected by the incident, he said.
“We would like to respect the family’s privacy at this incredibly painful time." Mr Sharkey added: "We are assisting the relevant authorities with their investigation to establish the facts and we will not be making any further comment at this time.” St Kentigern’s Academy is the school where singer Lewis Capaldi was once a pupil.