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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 02:16 GMT
School shooting stuns Netherlands
By Geraldine Coughlan
BBC correspondent at The Hague

Children gather outside school in Netherlands where shooting occurred
Students at the school
A Dutch schoolteacher has died after a student shot him in the head in a school cafeteria.

Students of the secondary school in The Hague said a pupil known as a troublemaker shot an economics teacher.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende described the shooting as horrific and promised an investigation.

Tuesday's shooting has sparked a national debate about security in schools, although the country has stringent gun control laws.

Teachers threatened

It is the first fatal shooting in a school in the Netherlands and it has shocked the nation.

The teacher died later and the student surrendered to the police.

The public is concerned at violence against teachers and whether security measures are needed in schools.

Violence involving firearms in the Netherlands is rare.

But the national teachers' union says violence in society includes schools.

Last year half the country's teachers were threatened by students and one in 50 was physically assaulted.

They want more rules, security cameras and police protection where necessary.

The country's first school shooting was five years ago, when a student wounded five people.

He was sentenced to five years in prison.


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