School-related terrorism on the rise: UN report

Systematic attacks on students, pupils used as intimidation tactic

Acid attacks on schoolgirls in southern Afghanistan, the murder of teachers in Thailand and efforts by “narco-guerrillas” to control schools in Brazil are just three examples cited in a recent United Nations report about the increase in terrorist attacks on schools. The report, “Education under Attack 2010,” warns that teachers and pupils are being targeted as a means of intimidation. Over the past three years, school-related terrorism has affected students and teachers in 31 countries. According to the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation report, new trends have emerged, including “the direct killing and mass poisoning of schools students in Afghanistan and the mass abduction of pupils for recruitment as suicide bombers in Pakistan.” Brendan O’Malley, the report’s author, warns that these attacks will have a significant long-term impact on education by generating fear among students and parents, and perhaps prompting governments not to rebuild schools damaged by terrorism, “fearing the money will be wasted if attacks are repeated.”


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