Serbia in mourning after school shooting – Serbian president addresses the nation

Five of the children injured in the Wednesday shooting at the Vladislav Ribnikar school in central Belgrade are stable, one child is in critical condition but showing improvement, while one child is still in critical condition, said Thursday morning the directors of the health institutions to which the injured were admitted.

Director of the University Clinical Centre of Serbia, Milka Asanin, said the situation with two students and one teacher who were admitted to this hospital is much better, and that they feel well.

Serbian Education Minister Branko Ruzic told a press conference that the government has declared three days of mourning (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) for the victims of the school shooting in Belgrade.

Ruzic also claimed that the education system did not fail the boy, claiming that a cut on his lip (allegedly the result of bullying at school) was reported after he had a private acting class. The minister said the negative influence of the Internet is present everywhere and laid blame on what he called Western values. “The devastating influence of video games and so-called Western values is evident and it’s clear to everyone that a huge change is needed with stricter measures and a systemic solution,” the minister said.

In his address to the nation following the shooting, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, said that the boy who killed eight people in a Belgrade elementary school will be hospitalized in a mental health clinic.

“The boy is in a special place now and will be moved to a special ward of the Neuropsychiatry Clinic,” he said, adding that there are a lot of stories and lies on social networks which he refused to comment.

“Serbia is united in sorrow, so great that we don’t remember any greater… we have to look at the causes, the responsibility of each of us, search for solutions,” he said.

According to the president, the police did their job properly before the shooting. “They were there before classes started, a policewoman did rounds at the school, talked to everyone, did her job not routinely but professionally and in good faith,” he said and added that the security guard who was killed even exchanged text messages with the shooter whom he knew quite well.

The president added new measures would be implemented following the first-ever school shooting in Serbia. Those measures include lowering the age limit for criminal accountability from 14 to 12. Under Serbian law, the shooter will not face criminal charges because he is 13 years old.

The proposed measures include a moratorium on the bearing of firearms, a review of firearms permits, control of the way weapons are stored and checks of shooting ranges. Vucic also wants adults charged if they allow minors access to firearms, a ban on violent content in the media, semi-annual drug tests for high school students, formation of mobile teams to deal with peer violence and a ban on dark net sites.

(N1, Politika, 04.05.2023)

Photo credits: Oliver Bunic/AFP via Getty Images


This post is also available in: Italiano

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