Colombian child dies after alleged assault in school

A 12-year boy has died following an alleged beating by classmates in a central Colombian school, reported local media Wednesday.

Members of Colombia’s Congress called for a state of emergency in schools to be declared following the incident at the Los Gomez educational institute in Itagui, a municipality in the department of Antioquia.

The child was allegedly beaten by three classmates over a week ago in revenge for assaulting another pupil. Days later, he began complaining of severe pains.

An aunt told newspaper El Tiempo, “He was limping from Tuesday. Wednesday he stayed at home and said his foot was huting, but he didn’t tell anyone it had been hit. Thursday, his mother took him to [hospital], where they gave him pills for vomiting and an injection for the pain. They also ordered an X-ray, but my sister couldn’t afford to pay for it.”

On Saturday the boy got worse, said the aunt, and after being transferred to two different clinics he died the following Tuesday.

Colombian Senator Gilma Jimenez told newspaper El Espectador that violence, drugs and alcohol in Colombian schools constituted a societal crisis. The true extent of the problem remained unknown, she said, but it had to be dealt with.

Colombian Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra said bullying in schools was a significant problem that had to be confronted by government insitutions. “A group of students resolving to tyrannize another student and dedicate themselves to maltreating him or her is completely unacceptable and we must tackle the problem whenever and to whoever it happens,’’ he told El Espectador.

The Ministry of Education, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, and the Prosecutor General’s Office would handle this together, Esguerra said.

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