Police entered two Bogota schools Thursday as part of a month-long campaign to combat violence, following a string of deaths across the country last year.
Centered in the capital’s eastern Santa Fe district, the intervention is the result of a collaboration between the district mayor and national police, who will enter nine schools responsible for educating 10,000 students.
The move follows the October 2012 stabbing of a 15-year-old student in a Bogota school, amid a number of violent incidents throughout the country, including the death of a 13-year-old at the hands of nine assailants in a school in the northern city of Barranquilla and the death of a 12-year-old in the Medellin satellite city of Itagui, purportedly beaten for defending a girl who was being bullied.
The deaths come amid reports of rising problems with drugs and violence, and the increasing influence of gangs in schools across the country.
Among the items confiscated in the initial searches were scissors, needles, spiked bracelets, a thick chain and lock, and a small amount of marijuana. While these do not constitute a deadly arsenal, the message is apparently being sent out that the inaction of authorities reported by local media following previous incidents has come to end.