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Pakistan Tightens School Security after Peshawar Attack



News reports say Pakistani intelligence officials have captured a leader in the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. Officials say Taj Muhammad led the group that attacked the city’s Army Public School last December. More than 150 people were killed in the raid. Most of the dead were children.

Since December, there have been other attacks on Pakistani schools. In Karachi, attackers threw two small explosive devices and sent threatening letters at a school.

Mohammad Arsalan, Pakistani Student

Mohammad Arsalan, Pakistani Student

Some students are responding with anger. They are planning ways to act on their feelings.

Mohammed Arsalan is a student. He told VOA “When we saw the students dying, we were very angry. We want to fight them.”

Another student, Hamad Zaman, said, “We can’t attack them now because we are young. But when we complete our studies, we will join the army and attack them.”

Increased Security for Schools

Pakistani officials, however, cannot protect all of the thousands of schools in the country. So they are turning to other methods. One is to train teachers on using guns. Teachers at Peshawar’s Frontier College for Women recently took a week-long class on using weapons.

Professor Zaman

Professor Zaman

Law Professor Zaman says the teachers do not have to take the training. But they saw how brave the children were. This gave them courage to take the course.

She said, “Self-Defense is more important than anything else. Education comes later. Life comes first. These kids have boosted our courage. Nobody can forget the sacrifice that they have given.”

In the capital, Islamabad, school security guards are getting more training. The government asked schools to raise their walls and add barbed wire around their property.

Facing the Future

Children everywhere need to talk after a violent event. The head of one school, Shahida Khurseed, said students come to her with many questions.

Shahida Khursheed, Principal, SLS Montessori School

Shahida Khursheed, Principal, SLS Montessori School

“Are we not going to come to school if anything goes wrong again? Or, our education is going to be stopped? And are we not going to be allowed to go outside? We are not going to have our field trips?”

At a government school, the students plan to meet any future attack in their own way.

“We’ll save our friends first,” says one boy. Another says, “I’ll sit on the top of the building and fire at them.”

The boys say they are not afraid to come to school.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai also survived an attack of the TPP. When she heard about the attack on children in Peshawar, she said, “My family and I are heartbroken. We should stand up together and fight against terrorism and we should make sure every child gets safe and quality education."

I’m Jonathan Evans.

This report was based on stories from VOA’s News Division and other media. Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

intelligencen., a government organization that collects information about an enemy or possible enemy

respondv., to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done

braveadj., feeling or showing no fear : not afraid

couragen., the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous

boostv., to increase the force, power, or amount of something

survive - v., to continue to be alive or to exist

Now it’s your turn to use the Words in this Story. In the comments section, write your opinion about school security. Is there a problem with school security in your country? How do you think parents and school authorities should talk with children about such dangers?

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