At Least Four Students in Cuban School Wounded with Knives

Students of professional technical education in Cuba. (Twitter)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, September 17, 2018 — This Monday morning at least four students were wounded at the Olo Pantoja Technological Institute in the La Lisa municipality in Havana. As an employee confirmed to 14ymedio, four people entered the school, opened the classroom doors, and «started stabbing,» explained the source.

According to the testimoney of this employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, at least six students were wounded, five males and one female, by knives. The Pediatric Hospital of Marianao confirmed that four adolescents received emergency treatment, among whom one had cuts in the face.

«Of the four treated only one remains hospitalized for a previous injury,» said a spokesperson from the hospital.

The wounded were transferred first to the Cristóbal Labra Polyclinic, near the center, to receive first aid. A school employee said that once in the clinic an individual tried to attack the students again, but was detained by police. According to this source three of the four attackers have already been detained.

14ymedio tried to speak with the police station of La Lisa but did not receive a response to multiple calls. Official media sources have not reported on the incident.

«The school’s problem is that it has no security. People enter without being asked for identification,» said the employee by telephone.

The center’s administration has asked parents to come collect their children because the school is «being evacuated.» Classes have been suspended until next Monday. According to one of the employees who spoke to this newspaper, various parents have said they will ask for «the removal» of their children from the school out of fear that violent events like this Monday’s will be repeated.

The Olo Pantoja school is located on Avenida 51 and Calle 222 and offers technical vocational training in construction with specialties in carpentry, brickwork, and others. Its name is an homage to Orlando Pantoja Tamayo, one of the men who accompanied Ernesto Guevara in the guerrilla war in Bolivia where he died on October 8, 1967, one day before the death of Che Guevara.

The Government maintains a strict censorship over the violent or criminal acts that occur in schools and the official press rarely addresses these topics. The few reports on school violence, prostitution, and bullying are done by the Island’s independent press.

At the beginning of the year it became known that a hidden shelter at a high school in Camagüey was being used as a meeting and leisure area by a group of young people aged between 13 and 23 that have been involved in a case of corruption of minors and drug use.

Six girls and one boy between 13 and 15 years old would meet in the shelter with young people between 16 and 23 years old to allegedly drink alcohol and take controlled medications like Carbamazepine and Dyphenhydramine.

Cuban education, considered for decades to be one of the principal banners of the Government, has not escaped the crisis experienced by the nation since the end of Soviet subsidies at the beginning of the nineties. The exodus of teachers and the low qualifications of personnel have forced massive recruitment of young people in training programs for teachers.

In 2008 a 12-year-old student died after being hit by a school chair by his teacher, who was 17. The murder, which happened in the Domingo Sarmientos high school, in Lawton, received no coverage in the official press.

Translated by: Sheilagh Carey

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