School teachers better prepared for violent incidents

Teaching staff in canton St. Gallen have learnt their lesson from a tragic teacher shooting a year ago and are now better prepared to manage violent situations, the cantonal authorities said on Wednesday.

This content was published on January 5, 2000 - 17:13

Teaching staff in canton St. Gallen have learnt their lesson from a tragic teacher shooting a year ago and are now better prepared to manage violent situations, the cantonal authorities said on Wednesday.

“Many things changed after the shooting on January 11, 1999,” said Liana Ruckstuhl, spokeswoman for the cantonal education board at a news conference.

She was referring to the killing of a local school teacher by an ethnic Albanian father from Kosovo. The man, who is in a prison in Serbia, has admitted to the shooting but says he had to protect his daughter from the teacher. The Swiss justice authorities say the father sexually abused his daughter, and that the teacher tried to protect her. The daughter now lives at an undisclosed location in Switzerland, where she has received financial assistance. The mother was given a 2 ½ year prison sentence by a cantonal court for aiding and abetting the sexual abuse.

The St. Gallen authorities said the tragic incident broke the taboo of violence on school grounds and in classrooms, and that staff would now swiftly contact police and justice authorities to seek assistance in times of crisis.

St. Gallen, as well as a number of other cantons, have introduced counselling services for teachers and stepped up cooperation efforts between police, justice authorities and regional administration.

The St. Gallen government has also drafted a programme aimed at improving social and cultural integration of foreigners. The measures include language courses, education and job training.

The school shooting caused shock waves in Switzerland and came at a time when tens of thousands of Kosovar refugees sought shelter in the country after fleeing the Serb crackdown in the Balkans.

From staff and wire reports.

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