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Shooting shocks Dutch

AP   2004-01-14 03:49:27  

THE HAGUE -- A high school student walked into his school's crowded cafeteria and shot an economics teacher point-blank in the head yesterday, badly wounding him. The shooting came as a shock to many in this country, where gun violence is rare. The 17-year-old student reportedly had been punished for misbehaviour a few days earlier.

The victim, Hans van Wieren, 49, was also the deputy principal of Stevincollege, a school in the southwest part of this city.

A student who was in the cafeteria at the time said she first mistook the gunshot for "fireworks."

"I heard people scream and thought it was a joke," said the student, who wouldn't give her name.

The suspect, who was not named, fled the scene on foot. Police were searching the neighbourhood with dogs.

The teacher, shot once in the forehead, was taken by helicopter to a hospital. No one else was hurt.

The school apparently has a history of violence. Students said police make daily visits.

"Fights are normal here, but not like this," said student Mohammed Ouledle.

The shooting has set off a national debate about violence against teachers and whether security measures are needed at schools.

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