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Serbia takes steps to prevent school violence after shooting

2023-05-04T19:07:27Z

Partizan fans light up candles before the start of the match between Partizan and Real Madrid, following a school mass shooting, after a boy opened fire on others, killing fellow students and staff, in Belgrade, Serbia May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic

The Serbian government said it had introduced a set of measures on Thursday to prevent potential violence in schools a day after a 13-year-old boy shot and killed eight students and a guard in a Belgrade elementary school.

The shooter took guns belonging to his father and went to school where he killed nine people and wounded six students and a teacher before turning himself in to the police.

Because of his age the boy cannot be criminally prosecuted under Serbian law but he will be placed in a psychiatric institution, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.

The government said in the statement that it had decided to halt issuing of licences to weapon holders. The justice ministry will prepare changes to the criminal law to prosecute those who enable access to weapons to children.

The government has tasked the justice ministry to change the legislation to lower the age for criminal punishment to 12 from the current 14 and organise groups of experts to counter peer violence in schools, the statement said.

It also said it would set up a working group for the safety of children on the internet that will consider banning certain sites.

The government will also change a legislation within one month to enable schools to test students for drugs and alcohol, the statement added.