A teacher has been stabbed to death in her own classroom at a school in the UK. 61-year-old Anne Maguire was attended to by paramedics at the scene and then rushed to hospital were she unfortunately died of her injuries yesterday afternoon. Teachers held a 15-year-old boy immediately after the incident took place who was later arrested by police. It is the first occurrence of a teacher being killed on school grounds in the UK since head teacher Philip Lawrence was murdered at the gates of his London institution in 1995.
An eyewitness at the scene told reporters how children were seen running from the classroom screaming following the attack, and teachers from other departments scrambled bandages and other medical supplies in the hope of saving Mrs Maguire. An ambulance was called just before 12:00 noon (local time) and responding paramedics called the police shortly after their arrival. According to Chief Superintendent Paul Money, the victim suffered a number of stab wounds and a knife was found at the scene.
Corpus Christi Catholic College, based in Leeds, has 950 students and upholds “traditional values” and “a strong Christian ethos” according to it’s website. A statement on the Leeds City Council website relayed the school’s decision to remain open today, but many of Mrs Maguire’s students (both past and present) are attending a Mass for her, as messages of condolence start to flood in. Some of these messages have come from as far away as Australia, and Downing Street have said Prime Minister David Cameron’s thoughts are with the victim’s family at this difficult time.
A teacher being stabbed to death in his/her classroom at a UK school is a distinct rarity, although MP for Leeds Central Hilary Benn said this fact would be of “no comfort” to the family of Anne Maguire. “[The stabbing] is not representative of the college or the community that surrounds it,” he said, before describing the killing as “profoundly saddening.”
Anne Maguire had been teaching Spanish at Corpus Christi Catholic College for over 40 years, covering two generations of the same family in multiple instances. She had joined the institution as a student teacher and stayed for the rest of her professional life, coming in for four days a week at the time of her death with the intention of retiring in September. She is survived by husband Donald, reported to be a retired maths teacher, and two adult daughters. Former pupil Kerianne Ayward, 17, has described Mrs Maguire as the “heart of the school.”
Anne Maguire’s death, the first of it’s kind in 19 years, has prompted some to call for the introduction of stricter regulations with regards to the way children are treated in UK schools. Last year, 250 students were caught with weapons in school, and a further 550 were permanently excluded for physical attacks on staff. A rise in knife crime by British teenagers has already resulted in police being based in a selection of secondary schools, and the use of metal detectors, security gates, and CCTV cameras have risen sharply since Mr Lawrence’s murder in 1995. However, with school perimeters being remarkably difficult to patrol 100% of the time, many believe that one teacher being stabbed to death in her classroom will turn out to be the tip of a frighteningly large iceberg.
Opinion by Zachary John