Pupils in Antwerp to leave weapons at home
Schools in Antwerp will join hands with the city and the police to fight the use of weapons on school campus.16 June 2008
BELGIUM - As of September 2008, schools in Antwerp will join hands with the city and the police to adopt a common policy to fight the use of weapons on their premises.
Earlier this year, an 18-year-old from Antwerp ended up in hospital with severe stab wounds following an attack by a fellow pupil.
For the city of Antwerp and local schools, the incident was the final straw and they decided to tackle the problem of growing violence among youngsters.
As of September 2008, all Antwerp schools - catholic and state-governed schools - will include a paragraph on forbidden weaponry in their school regulations.
The paragraph will focus on four possible situations: suspicion of individual arms possession, suspicion of arms possession by a group of pupils; arms display and the display of arms under threat.
"From the moment there is just as much as the slightest suspicion of pupils carrying weapons, the school will step into action. If necessary, the police will be called in to search the pupil”, Antwerp mayor Patrick Janssens explains.
“We don’t want to end up in the situation where pupils are searched on entering the school. The law doesn’t allow us to do that. But pupils should be aware that we will search them on the slightest suspicion,” Janssens continues.
In the case weapons are found, the schools commit themselves to report the incident to the city by means of special form.
The mayor of Antwerp hopes the form will serve as a measuring instrument on the possession of fire arms in schools. If the new policy turns out to be effective, it may well be extended to drugs possession too.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]