14ymedio, Havana, 19 September 2018 — Classes remain suspended at the Olo Pantoja Polytechnic Institute of Civil Constructio (IPCC), in La Lisa municipality in Havana, after nine students were injured by several people who invaded the school on Monday morning, as confirmed by 14ymedio.
Last Tuesday an employee, who preferred anonymity, confirmed to this newspaper that four adults entered the school, opened the doors of the classrooms and “began to stab people.” At least four students had to be transferred to a nearby hospital and the school canceled classes until further notice.
This Wednesday the entrance gate to the polytechnic remained closed and the parents of students who came to inquire did not receive information about the reopening date. A local employee replied to the constant questions only with the announcement that this afternoon “at three there is a parents’ meeting.”
According to the testimony of a school employee who spoke with 14ymedio after the incident, at least six students were wounded, five males and one female, with a knife. TheMarianao Pediatric Hospital confirmed that four adolescents were treated on an emergency basis, among which there was one with cuts on the face.
“Of the four treated only one remains hospitalized for a previous orthopedic injury,” said a hospital spokeswoman.
The wounded were first transferred to the Cristóbal Labra Polyclinic, near the school, to receive first aid. An employee of the school said that once in the polyclinic an individual tried to assault the students again, but was stopped by the police. According to this source, three of the four attackers have been arrested.
14ymedio tried to communicate with La Lisa police station but did not get an answer to multiple calls. The official media have not reported the incident.
“The problem the school has is that there is no security at all. People enter without being asked for identification,” said the employee by phone.
School management informed the parents who came to pick up their children that the school is “under evacuation.” According to one of the employees consulted by this newspaper, several parents have said that they will ask that their children be “unenrolled” from the school for fear that violent acts like this one on Monday will be repeated.
Olo Pantoja School is located on 51st Avenue and 222nd Street and is responsible for training construction technicians in carpentry, masonry and other specialties. Its name pays homage to Orlando Pantoja Tamayo, one of the men who accompanied Ernesto Guevara as a guerrilla in Bolivia, where he died on October 8, 1967, one day before the death of Guevara.
The Government maintains a strict censorship over violent or criminal acts that occur in schools, which the official press rarely reports. The few reports on school violence, prostitution and harassment are made by the independent press of the Island.
At the beginning of the year, it became known that an underground shelter in a junior high school in Camagüey served as a meeting and leisure place for a group of young people between 13 and 23 years old who were involved in a case of corruption of minors and drug use.
Six girls and a boy between 13 and 15 years of age met at the shelter with young people between 16 and 23 years of age, presumably to consume alcohol and controlled medications such as carbamazepine and diphenhydramine.
Cuban education, considered for decades as one of the crowning achievements of the ruling party, has not escaped the crisis that the nation is experiencing since the end of the Soviet subsidies in the early 90s. The exodus of teachers and the low qualifications of the staff has forced the massive hiring of young people from what are called “emerging teacher” training programs.
In 2008 a 12-year-old student died after being hit with a school chair by his teacher, who was 17 years old. The homicide, which occurred at the Domingo Sarmientos Junior High School in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood, did not receive coverage in the official press.
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