A 14-year-old boy attacked three teachers and two learners at a school in Spain on Thursday. It made headlines in a country where violent crime is very rare.
The boy, whose name is withheld, apparently attacked them repeatedly with a knife shortly after classes began at the school in Jerez de la Frontera in the southern Andalusia region, police spokesman Adrian Dominguez told reporters at the scene.
“The police found the suspect on the third floor. He had two knives in his possession which were used to attack three teachers and two scholars,” Dominguez said, adding that the suspect was taken to a police station.
Four of the injured persons were treated in hospital, including a teacher who required an operation on her eye after being stabbed by the boy, regional education minister Patricia del Pozo told reporters.
Several learners told media in Spain that the boy first attacked members of his class and the teacher who needed eye surgery before he ran to another class and continued his attack.
One learner, whose name has not been disclosed, has a private television station La Sexta said the attacker ran to the back of the class, “dropped his backpack on the ground and pulled out the knives before shouting ‘I’m going to kill you!'”.
“He was running, chasing people and everyone was moving towards the playground,” he added.
Another unknown learner has on Canal Sur-television said the boy “had an expression on his face as if he wanted to stab everyone”.
Parents rushed to the school and gathered outside the gates which were cordoned off by the police.
Learners were evacuated from the school and sent home.
“It was very dramatic and sad because the parents outside the school just wanted to hug their children,” Jerez de la Frontera Mayor Maria Jose Garcia-Pelayo told reporters, adding that teachers were able to disarm the suspect.
“They reacted quickly to protect the children. What happened is very serious, and we will have to reflect on this.”
Juan Manuel Morenao, head of Andalusia’s regional government, said it was not yet clear what led to the attack, but he suspected “extreme violence” on television and elsewhere.
“We all need to think about the role that violence plays on television, in movies, in games. The violence we regularly see on social media is senseless, sometimes extreme violence.”
The head of the Spanish bishops’ conference, Archbishop Francisco Cesar Garcia Mogan, requested “urgent reflection” with a focus on spiritual health in education.
Spain has a low crime rate – especially in terms of violent crime – compared to other European countries. Apart from 2020, where incidents of crime were particularly rare due to the lockdown period during the pandemic, 2021’s crime rate of 41.4 incidents per 1,000 people was the lowest in recent history, the government said.