Two Decades Of School Mass Shootings In The US

 

Two students were shot dead and another three wounded when a classmate opened fire at their California high school, the latest in the United States’ relentless cycle of school mass shootings.

Here are America’s deadliest classroom gun massacres in the last two decades.

Columbine High School (1999)

Two teenagers from Columbine, Colorado, armed with an assortment of weapons and homemade bombs, went on a rampage at their local high school.

Twelve students and a teacher were killed during the April 20 massacre. Another 24 people were wounded.

Columbine, whose name has become synonymous with school shootings, is one of the first — and still among the deadliest — such shootings in the United States.

Virginia Tech (2007)

A South Korean student at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute opened fire on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus, killing 32 students and professors before committing suicide.

Thirty-three people were wounded.

The gunman had apparently idolized the Columbine shooters, referring to them as “martyrs” in a video, part of a hate-filled manifesto he mailed to police during the shooting.

Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012)

A 20-year-old man with a history of mental health issues killed his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty children, aged six and seven, were shot dead, as well as six adults. The shooter then committed suicide.

The parents of Sandy Hook victims have led numerous campaigns to toughen gun control laws, but their efforts have largely failed.

Some conspiracy theorists insist the massacre was a government hoax, claiming the shooting involved “actors” in a plot to discredit the gun lobby.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (2018)

On February 14, a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was expelled for disciplinary reasons returned to the Parkland, Florida school and opened fire.

He killed 14 students and three adult staff.

Stoneman Douglas students have become crusaders against gun violence under the banner “March for Our Lives,” lobbying for tougher gun control laws and organizing protests and rallies.

Their campaign has taken off on social media, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of young Americans.

Santa Fe High School (2018)

Ten people, including eight students, were killed when a 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and a revolver opened fire on his classmates in rural Santa Fe, Texas.

Classes had just started on the morning of May 18 when the shooting began.

Following the tragedy Texas Governor Greg Abbott unveiled 40 recommendations, mainly focused on increasing armed security on school campuses and stepping up mental health screenings to identify troubled children.

Gun ownership can be a point of pride for many Texans, and even some Santa Fe High School students spoke out against linking the shooting to the need for better gun control.

Lebanon Pupils Skip School For Third Day To Demand Change

Lebanese demonstrators wave the national flag during an anti-government demonstration outside the Ministry of Interior in the capital Beirut on November 8, 2019. 
Patrick BAZ / AFP

 

Thousands of high school students across Lebanon skipped classes Friday for a third day in a row to carry on the flame of the country’s anti-graft movement.

Lebanon has since October 17 been gripped by massive cross-sectarian protests demanding a complete revamping of a political system they say is corrupt and inept.

With youth unemployment running at over 30 per cent, school students have joined en masse since Wednesday demanding a better country so they don’t have to emigrate.

In Beirut, a teenage student who gave her name as Qamar was among thousands of pupils chanting slogans outside the ministry of education on Friday.

“So what if we lose a school year compared to our entire future?” she said. “I don’t want to study in Lebanon and then have to travel abroad” to find a job.

Around her, students waved red-green-and-white Lebanese flags, as others set off yellow, green, blue and purple flares into the sky.

“We missed classes to kick your asses,” read one poster in English.

Another poster in rhyming Arabic said: “No studying or teaching, until the president falls.”

Across Lebanon, students protested outside state institutions and banks including in the southern city of Saida, Tripoli in the north and the east’s Baalbek.

What started as a spontaneous and leaderless movement has become more organised in recent days, with protesters targeting institutions viewed as particularly inefficient or corrupt.

Early Friday, dozens of activists and retired army officers for the first time briefly closed down the entrance to Beirut’s port.

Among them, music producer Zeid Hamdan, 43, had come to denounce what he viewed as a customs collection system riddled with corruption.

“As a musician whenever I bring an instrument into the country, I pay 40 per cent of it” to customs, he said, sporting a light beard and wearing sunglasses.

“It stays stuck in the port for weeks. You need connections, to bribe everybody to get it out,” he said.

Lebanon’s cabinet stepped down last week but no official consultations have started on forming a new government, and outgoing premier Saad Hariri remains in a caretaker capacity.

The World Bank has urged Lebanon to form a new government quickly, warning of the threat of a further economic downturn in a country where almost a third of the population lives in poverty.

Govt Shuts Illegal Private Schools In Kaduna

Bandits Kill Two Air Force Personnel In Kaduna

 

The Kaduna State government says it has uncovered over 3,000 illegal and substandard private schools across the state.

Director-General of Kaduna State Schools Quality Assurance Authority, Umma Ahmad, confirmed to Channels Television that many of such schools have been shut down for operating without registration.

She explained that other schools were closed for various offences ranging from lack of conducive learning environment, non-payment of annual levies, and lack of qualified teachers among others.

READ ALSO: Kidnap Suspect Arrested As Police Rescue Boy, Seven Victims In Kaduna

Umma noted that the affected schools refused to register with the government, making it difficult to regulate their activities.

She vowed that the schools would remain closed until they comply with the laid down guidelines and standard procedures.

According to Umma, a joint task force team of officials of the Authority and Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue Service accompanied by security operatives conducted the exercise on Wednesday.

In the Tudun Wada area of Kaduna metropolis, a school, Obadiah International School was said to have not been registered since it was established over 10 years ago.

The facility operates nursery and primary, as well as secondary school classes all in a dilapidated structure and like many others, it has no science laboratory, library, good toilet facilities, and conducive classrooms.

Umma said the government officials were not happy with what they met on the ground while an argument ensued between them and the purported principal, leading to the closure of the school.

She insisted that the exercise, which would be conducted in the three senatorial zones of the state, was not to witch-hunt anybody or school.

Instead, the director-general that it was aimed at ensuring all private schools operating in the state comply with operational standards as provided by Kaduna State Law No 13, Section 4, of 2017.

A representative of the National Association of Private Schools, Emmanuel Alalade, who was also part of the task force, said it was long overdue.

Tanzanian President Backs Official Who Caned School Pupils

 

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has lauded a regional governor who caused outrage by caning 14 schoolchildren, saying he should have done more.

Footage of the punishment, which went viral on the internet, showed Albert Chalamila, governor of Mbeya in southern Tanzania, giving three strokes of the cane to each student, all of them stretched out on the ground.

They had violated a ban on having mobile phones in their school and are accused of burning down their dormitory in retaliation.

The punishment was administered in front of the students’ schoolmates, police officers and teachers and unleashed wide criticism on social media.

“I congratulate the regional commissioner for caning the students and that was actually not enough. He could do more,” the president said on Thursday during a visit to a neighbouring region.

“Some people are talking about human rights but there is no way we can afford having arrogant students like these. They can’t burn a dormitory just because their phones which are not allowed in schools were taken by teachers.

“I told the regional commissioner to suspend all students in that school and their parents must pay before the students are allowed back to school. Those who were directly involved should be taken to jail.”

Under a 1979 law, corporal punishment can only be administered by the school’s director, and only in the event of serious breaches. The punishment is administered by a light, flexible cane on the hand or buttocks.

Corporal punishment in schools flared into a national controversy last year after a 13-year-old boy in the northern province of Kagera died of injuries inflicted by his teacher.

Human Rights Watch, in February 2017, said corporal punishment in Tanzanian schools was widespread, frequently “brutal and humiliating” and called for it to be banned.

Oyo Govt To Construct Five Model Schools Across Senatorial Districts

A file photo of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde.

 

 

Oyo State Government has revealed plans to construct five new model schools across the three senatorial districts of the state.

A statement by the Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, explained that this was in line with the 2018 intervention project in conjunction with Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education Board.

The Chairman of Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Adeniran, made the announcement during a prequalification exercise for the 2018 FGN-UBEC/OYOSUBEB intervention projects in Ibadan.

He noted that the projects would be awarded to qualified contractors among the 76 applicants who applied for the pre-qualification exercise.

Dr Adeniran listed the beneficiary schools to include Methodist Primary School, Bodija in Ibadan North Local Government Area (LGA); and St. Paul’s Primary School, Yanbule in Ibadan North East (LGA).

Others are Methodist Primary School, Arowomole, Ogbomosho South LGA; Community Primary School, Airport, Ona-Ara LGA; and Muslim Grammar (Jnr) School, Odinjo, Oluyole LGA.

The SUBEB boss affirmed that the present administration would ensure equity, fairness and objectivity in the award of these contracts.

“The anomalies observed in the award of contracts by the last administration through awards of 64 and 72 projects to a single contractor is a thing of the past, as our administration is guided by fairness, equity, transparency and accountability,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Dr Adeniran commended the state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, for his bid to enhance education delivery and access to basic education in the state.

According to him, this is made manifest through the governor’s immediate intervention in the education sector through the budgetary increment of the sector.

The SUBEB chairman also reiterated the government’s determination to terminate payment of legal and illegal fees in public schools.

He added that the newly introduced extra-mural classes for JSS3 and SS3 students would improve the academic performances of the students tremendously.

26 Children, Two Teachers Killed In Liberia School Fire

 

Dozens of children were killed on Wednesday in a fire at a Koranic school near the Liberian capital Monrovia.

At least 26 children and two teachers died in the blaze overnight, the president’s office said, citing information from the emergency services.

President George Weah visited the site in Paynesville, on the outskirts of the capital, and said the cause was still unknown.

“We are here to encourage parents of the victims to have strength, because it is painful to lose your kids in this manner,” Weah told reporters.

“We extend our sympathy to the bereaved families. We don’t know the cause of the fire yet, but we will encourage our investigators to find how it happened,” he added.

Rescuers in white masks and surgical gloves carried the children’s bodies in bags from the burnt-out building as crowds of people and relatives crushed together outside.

The sheet-metal roof of the building, which housed a school and boarding school, was destroyed.

“I was sleeping when I heard noise outside. My wife opened the back door and we saw smoke coming from the front. We came out and saw heavy fire at the back,” said local resident Zazay.

Another resident, Ballah, whose home is near the school, said they helped in the rescue efforts.

“We went for water, trying to put it out. We were putting water up to 2.30 am. When the fire fighters came, the fire was already going down.”

“We do not know the cause of the fire,” he said.

The fire struck while the children were asleep, said Fulani community official Amadou Sherrif.

In an earlier tweet, Weah offered condolences to the families of those affected.

“My prayers go out to the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building,” he wrote.

“This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia.”

AFP

Catholic School Priest Bans ‘Harry Potter’ Books On Exorcist Advice

 

Exorcists advised a Nashville school priest to ban the Harry Potter books, over fears the popular children’s novels could be used to summon spirits.

Reverend Dan Reehil contacted exorcists in Rome and the US, who recommended removing the fantasy novels from St. Edward Catholic School’s library in Tennessee.

Launched in 1997, the series of books spins an epic tale of good and evil focused on the adventures of the eponymous bespectacled young wizard as he struggles against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

“The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text,” the reverend said in an email obtained by local media.

Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told the newspaper The Tennessean that Reehil had “canonical authority to make such decisions.”

Although the school used to stock the books, it will not offer them to pupils in its newly opened library, Hammel said.

A global success, the Potter series by British author J.K. Rowling has been repeatedly banned from schools in the US and Britain, mostly for allegedly promoting satanic values or black magic.

Two Suspects Shot Dead In Robbery At South African School

Mob Burns Nigerian To Death In South Africa

 

Two suspected robbers were killed in a shootout with police during a break-in at a Johannesburg high school as students prepared to sit exams on Thursday, officials said.

A gang of robbers stormed the school, intimidated office staff and demanded access to the safe before making off with 8,000 rands ($572).

Police and private security officers responded to the unfolding emergency in minutes.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Military Plane Crashes In Algeria

“When they (police) arrived the suspects were on their way out, the shooting started and that’s when the police returned fire,” police spokesman Kay Makhubela told reporters outside the school.

“Two suspects were shot and killed,” he said adding that another was injured, two others arrested while an unknown number fled in two vehicles.

No staff or students were wounded in the attack.

The head of Edenvale High School Larry Harmer said he watched on the security camera as the robbers forced their way into the school when a parent came to collect his child. It was too late to lock them out.

“They jumped through the window with their AK-47s and pistols and then traumatised the front staff and office staff, and demanded the safe,” said Harmer.

Gauteng Provincial Education Minister Panyaza Lesufi said students were sent home after the attack and all classes and exams were suspended until Monday.

“(Schools) are sitting ducks of criminals,” said Lesufi.

Violent crime is notoriously common in South Africa, with armed robbery, rape, carjacking and muggings among the leading threats.

AFP

Children Hurt As Leopard Roams Into Chad School

Chad

 

Four children and their teacher were injured when a leopard roamed into their primary school in a rare attack in Chad on Thursday, witnesses said.

Five people were hurt when the big cat entered an army colonel’s house at around 7:00 am, said Moussa Issa, who lives nearby.

It then headed to the school where the other injuries occurred, another local resident said.

READ ALSO: South African Coal Mine Death Toll Climbs To 12

Security forces killed the leopard after it wandered close to a military base, Moussa Issa said.

The leopard was a “domestic animal” owned by an army official, said residents in the Amsinene area in the capital N’Djamena.

Leopards are a “vulnerable” species, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Wildlife conservation group Panthera says the number of leopards in Africa has plunged 40 per cent in recent years. The exact number of leopards in the world is not known.

AFP

Florida Remembers School Shooting Victims One Year After

In this file photo taken on February 17, 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez reacts during her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. PHOTO: RHONA WISE / AFP

 

The city of Parkland, Florida came to a standstill Thursday to remember the victims of a school shooting that took the lives of 17 people on Valentine’s Day one year ago, igniting a student crusade against gun violence.

Survivor Emma Gonzalez, who emerged as a leading activist after the massacre, said the gun control movement known as the March for Our Lives will go off-line and silent from Thursday through the weekend.

“Like so many others in our community, I’m going to spend that time giving my attention to friends and family, and remembering those we lost,” Gonzalez wrote in a statement.

“The 14th is a hard day to look back on. But looking at the movement we’ve built — the movement you created and the things we’ve already accomplished together — is incredibly healing,” she wrote.

READ ALSO: Brazil’s President Leaves Hospital After 17-Day ‘Power Vacuum’

The shooting saw a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk in with a military-style rifle and kill 14 students and three staff members.

The school says it will mark the anniversary with a “non-academic” day, offering counseling services. It will close its doors before 2:20 pm, the moment when the shooting started.

A March for Our Lives spokesman said many students will not show up for school.

No protest marches are expected, nor are student sit-ins or anti-gun campaigning.

 Quiet day of mourning 

“For this date we wanted to stay quiet, simply out of respect,” said 15-year-old shooting survivor Ryan Servaites.

“You know, this affected us very personally. We know this community. We’re from Parkland and we love Parkland and we simply don’t want to turn this into a day of protest when it really should be a day of mourning.”

Parkland and neighboring Coral Springs, home to many students of the activist movement, will hold events to honor the victims of the shooting.

In Parkland, at a park next to the school, mental health professionals will be deployed as will dogs meant to provide comfort. So will staff from a food program for needy kids. An ecumenical religious service will be held.

In Coral Springs, the artist David Best will inaugurate a work called Temple of Time — a 11-meter high structure of plywood decorated with Asian images where people can go to pay homage to the victims of the shooting.

In mid-May the structure will be burned down.

Best began building such temples in 2000 at the Burning Man festival in Nevada to honor a friend who died in a motorcycle accident.

Since then he has specialized in offering towns this tool of collective mourning.

“The Temple is meant to serve as an object of great beauty built out of tremendous loss,” the Coral Springs city hall wrote on its web page.

AFP

Three Pupils Killed In South African School As Walkway Collapses

 

Three South African students have been killed and 19 others seriously injured on Friday after a walkway collapsed at a high school near Johannesburg, an official said. 

“It breaks my heart,” provincial education minister Panyaza Lesufi told reporters after the incident at Hoerskool Driehoek school in Vanderbijlpark, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Johannesburg.

“We can confirm 26 leaners were affected, with three deceased — two males and one female,” he said, indicating the victims were between the ages of 13 and 18.

READ ALSO: Teacher Suspended In South Africa Over Racist Picture

Another 19 pupils were seriously injured, while two suffered minor injuries and another two had already been released from the hospital.

One teacher told local media that the incident occurred shortly after morning assembly.

Emergency services rushed to scene to rescue pupils trapped in the rubble. The walkway connected the administration block with classrooms.

AFP

Children Injured As Knife Attacker Storms Chinese School

 

A knife-wielding woman attacked and injured 14 children at a kindergarten in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Friday, authorities said.

The 39-year-old assailant used a kitchen knife to slashed students while they were returning to the classroom after morning exercises, said the Banan district public security bureau in Chongqing city on its official social media account.

Images and video footage posted by local media online show children in blood-soaked clothes, some with knife wounds on their face.

After police rushed to the scene, children were evacuated for medical treatment. The woman who carried out the attack is currently in police custody and an investigation is ongoing.

The attack took place at about 9:30 am (0130 GMT) local time, according to the department.

Knife attacks targeting schoolchildren are not uncommon in China, which has seen a slew of deadly incidents over the past few years.

In April, a 28-year-old man killed nine middle school students as they were returning home in one of the country’s deadliest knife attacks in recent years. The killer, who said he had been bullied when he attended the school, was executed in September.

In January 2017, a man armed with a kitchen knife stabbed and wounded 11 children at a kindergarten in southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Such events have forced authorities to increase security around schools and led to calls for more research into the root causes of such acts.

Violent crime has been on the rise in China in recent decades as the nation’s economy has boomed and the gap between rich and poor has widened rapidly.

Studies have also described a rise in the prevalence of mental disorders, some of them linked to stress as the pace of life becomes faster and support systems wither.

AFP